Cardiac Arrest and a Heart Attack- Do You Know the Difference?
There are differences between cardiac arrest and a heart attack and CPR Choice wants to make sure you are informed and prepared in the event of a medical emergency.
What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest or SCA?
Sudden cardiac arrest or SCA is a sudden or unexpected pulseless condition attributed to the cessation of cardiac mechanical activity. It is usually caused by ventricular fibrillation, an abnormality in the heart’s electrical system. When SCA occurs, blood stops flowing to the brain, the heart and the rest of the body and the person collapses. In fact, the person is clinically dead and will remain so unless someone helps immediately.
Most people do not realize that SCA is a leading cause of death among adults over the age of 40 in the United States and other countries. In the U.S. alone, approximately 424,000 people of all ages experience SCA each year (more than 1,000/day) and 19 out of 20 victims die.
What is a Heart Attack?
A heart attack occurs when part of the heart’s blood supply is reduced or blocked, causing the heart muscle to become injured or die. A heart attack victim is awake and may complain about painful symptoms. The heart muscle requires oxygen to survive. Coronary arteries are in charge of bringing oxygen rich blood to the heart. However, these arteries can become more narrow and clogged by fat, cholesterol, and plaque resulting in poor perfusion.
What Can I Do?
SCA can strike anyone, anytime. Seconds count–timely and appropriate care will substantially improve survival rates. In the event of a Sudden Cardiac Arrest:
- Call 911. Give specific details; “I have a female, approx. 50 years old, experiencing chest pains…”
- Tell someone to get the AED.
- Begin doing chest compressions at a rate of 100 per minute. (Think of the Bee Gees song, Stayin’ Alive.) Push hard and fast in between the nipples on the lower portion of the sternum.
What you can do to prepare:
- Learn CPR and AED functionality. Get your friends and family involved too. Remember, over 80% of cardiac arrests occur at home, which means a life you save could very well be a loved one!
- Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Access– spread the word on why having an AED at your work, school or community center can be the key to survival. CPR Choice sells AEDs and provides hands on training, as well as guidance on internal procedures for the best utilization.
Having confidence in your ability to perform CPR and to use an AED is the best way to prevent unnecessary deaths. CPR Choice is your source to learn the skills needed to save a life! It is a very small price to pay versus watching the ones you love pass in front of you. Sign up for a CPR class today!