Providing Emergency Help for Cardiac Arrest Victims

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Cardiac arrest is a fatal medical problem that must be dealt with immediately in order to save a life. Emergency help is required in order to ensure that the victim remains alive before an ambulance arrives at the scene.

Cardiac Arrest Symptoms

    • Instant loss of responsiveness whereby the victim shows no signs of responding when you tap his or her shoulders.  Even if you ask the victim any question there is no response.
    • Lack of normal breathing whereby the patient fails to take normal breath when the head is tilted up. You need to check this for five seconds and if the breathing does not normalize, call for emergency assistance.
emergency help
Dealing with cardiac arrest

Providing Emergency Help

If the above signs are recognized, you need to call for emergency help immediately to avoid death. The most effective way is to call 911 for emergency services.  If you are trained to use an automated external defibrillator or AED, use it immediately to help send electric shock to the heart of the victim to allow the heart to function. At the same time you should also begin conducting CPR immediately and continue until an emergency service provider arrives. If there is another person who is present, one of you should start CPR immediately while the other one call emergency help or finds an AED.

Cardiac arrest is a reversible condition, but the victim needs to be treated immediately. In Canada, survival rates of cardiac arrest victims has gone high since the use of more efficient AED to provide the immediate help required. The use of the defibrillator and bedside monitoring in most of the hospitals has led to the decreased number of deaths. However, something that should be noted is that if one does not know how to use AED or to carry out CPR, one should not experiment on a cardiac arrest victim.

Chain of Survival to Rescue Cardiac Arrest Victims

This chain consists of:

  • Early recognition of the problem and activation of the EMS or emergency medical services.
  • Immediate defibrillation when it is indicated
  • Early bystander CPR and
  • Immediate advanced emergency help followed by post-resuscitation care provided by professional health care providers.

Caring for Children

Children who suffer from cardiac arrest need to have their body temperature, blood pressure, glucose and cardiac and ventilation output managed. The survival rate is always high when emergency help is provided for both children and adults.

Where to Learn More?

To learn more about providing aid and recognizing victims of cardiac arrest enrol in St Mark James first aid and CPR courses. Participants that complete the programs will receive an award that meets workplace requirements and learn the latest American Heart Association rescue techniques.


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