Like all heart-related diseases, sudden cardiac arrest is an even which should not be taken lightly. According to recent health statistics, more than 350000 people die each year due to sudden cardiac arrest. Know everything about sudden cardiac arrest because it may one day save your life.
To begin with, let us address the following question: what is sudden cardiac arrest? According to several medical dictionaries, sudden cardiac arrest or SCR, is a cardiac event, in which our heart activity unexpectedly shuts down. In most cases, this event is due to abnormal electric activity within our cord. In the case of SCR, the heart will be unable to deliver blood to the rest of the organs.
Another important step in getting our facts straight is knowing the difference between an SCR and a heart attack. As so, in the case of a heart attack, the blood flow is restricted to a specific portion of the heart, whereas, in the case of an SCR, the heart will prevent blood flow activity due to an electrical disturbance.
There are specifical symptoms associated with this type of cardiac event. Usually, these symptoms are quite visible and can be identified in advance. Cardiac events can be traced back to several weeks, days and even hours.
Unfortunately, there are lots of patients who choose to ignore these signs. By ignoring these symptoms associated with SCR, your chances of survival in the case of such an event can substantially decrease.
A recent study detailing how people act in case of a sudden heart attack has discovered, that people undergoing such an event choose to act much too late. Doctor Summeet Chung, from the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, declared that 90 percent of patients who called 911 too late will not survive.
Also, the study has revealed that more than more than 1100 patients, with ages between 35 and 65, have suffered from a sudden heart attack during 2002 and 2012.
The study wasn’t able to determine the severity of the symptoms for a quarter of those patients. As for the rest, doctor Chung said that the survival rate was more than 30 percent if the patients immediately jump on the phone once they experience the appropriate symptoms.
How do we know if we are prone to have a sudden cardiac arrest? In most cases, SCR occurs due an underlying heart disease. Patients who experienced previous heart issues are more prone to suffer from SCR than patients who have no heart problems.
How to tell if you’re going to suffer an SCR? There are a handful symptoms associated with this cardiac event. In case you suffer heart palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pains or pain in the upper part of your left arm, it is highly probable that you’ll suffer a sudden cardiac arrest.
These symptoms could occur in any part of the day, but in the case of chest pains, they usually manifest themselves at night. In most cases, they are mistaken for signs of stomach distress.
What do you do if someone near you suffers from a sudden cardiac arrest?
1.Stay calm and do not panic. You’ll be more efficient that way, ensuring that the person’s chances of survival will increase.
2.Before anything else place a call to 911 and inform the authorities about the patient’s condition.Proceed into assessing the patient’s condition. SCR is declared when a person is unconscious, does not breath and has no pulse.
3.To increase the patient’s chances of survival until the ambulance arrives, you can start performing CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation). The procedure consists of two steps: thoracic compression and mechanic ventilation.
4.Before starting CPR procedures, please ensure that the patient is unresponsive. If the patient is still unconscious and you detect no pulse or breathing, then you can begin CPR procedures.
Here’s how to do it:
a)Tilt his head back and open his mouth, in order to ensure that his airways are clear.
b)Place your hands in the middle of his chest and push down approximately 2 inches. Perform 30 compressions. After performing one compression, let the chest come up to its initial position before performing the second one. Thoracic compression should be performed at a rate of 100 compressions per minute, that means more than one compression once per second.
c)Administer mechanical ventilation. Tilt the patient’s head back, ensuring that his chin is lifted. Gently pinch is his nose. Place your mouth over the patient’s mouth and administer 2 strong breath. If the procedure is done correctly, then you’ll see how the patient’s chest inflates. One breath per second is enough.
5.If the ambulance does not arrive on time, continue resuscitation procedures until either the medical teams arrive or until patient regains consciousness.
Know about sudden cardiac arrest in order to save someone’s life: pause, assess, call 911 and begin CPR if the patient is unresponsive.
Here is a video demonstration of CPR.