Cardiac Arrest or Heart Attack
Know the Difference
- Heart stops pumping blood throughout the body
- Loss of pulse
- Person will fall to the ground and be unconscious
- Person may be snoring, grunting, gurgling or not breathing at all
- May see "seizure like" activity
- Caused by a lack of blood flow to the heart muscle
- Person will be conscious
- Person will have a pulse
- Person may be complaining of chest pain or tightness
- Person will likely be short of breath
Cardiac arrest affects approximately 350,000 people in the out of hospital setting every year. Without the use of bystander CPR and AED use, there is only a 10% chance of survival.
But when early CPR is initiated and an AED is utilized, the chance of survival with a good neurological outcome increases to 30%.
Remember the 3 C's
Compress and AED
Are they breathing normally? If the answer is anything but yes you need to do CPR.
What is it?
CardioPulmonary Resuscitation, or CPR
We use CPR when the heart has stopped pumping blood on its own. The heart can stop pumping for a number of reasons, but we know from using our 3 C's that if the person is unresponsive and not breathing normally they need CPR. By performing CPR you are taking over the heart normally does on its own. CPR is manually compressing the chest and continuing to circulate blood throughout the body.
Automated External Defibrillator, or AED
An AED is the second key aspect to treating a cardiac arrest victim. It is a simple to use automated device . It can detect lethal heart rhythms and if indicated deliver a controlled amount of electricity in an attempt to restore a normal heart rhythm. AEDs can be found in numerous places, such as schools, public buildings, malls sports complexes, and airports. They are simple and easy to use. You simply turn it on, listen to the prompts, and
follow the voice instructions.
What about the law?
Good Samaritan Law
One of the biggest concerns of the layperson rescuer is whether or not they are liable to any legal action against them for rendering care during an emergency. The answer is simply no. While the wording of the Good Samaritan Law differs from state to state they all say the same thing: "A/any person: In good faith, who renders emergency care or assistance, without compensation, to any ill or injured person at the scene of an accident, fire, or in any life-threatening emergency, or en route from or to any hospital, medical clinic or doctor’s office, shall not be liable for any civil damages for acts or omissions resulting from the rendering of such care or assistance."
2020 CARES Registry
The Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival (CARES) allows communities to benchmark their performance with local, state, or national metrics to better identify opportunities to improve their OHCA care. CARES offers a comprehensive understanding of where arrests are occurring, whether bystanders are providing intervention prior to EMS arrival, EMS and hospital performance, and patient outcomes.
See the 2020 CARES Annual Report here.