How to Save Lives of Victims in a Cardiac Arrest

Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death in adults across the globe. Cardiac arrest is one of the outcomes of heart conditions that can lead to sudden death. 

According to a study, around 40,000 U.S. residents die of sudden cardiac arrest yearly. Most of these patients succumb to death before reaching the hospital. 

Therefore, timely intervention is crucial in case of cardiac arrest. BLS training is a program that enables non-medical individuals and healthcare professionals to manage health emergencies like cardiac arrest. Individuals equipped with BLS training can decrease the incidence of premature deaths. 

A 2021 study concluded that initiating BLS immediately and providing prompt defibrillation (if available) is essential to avoid death from cardiac arrest. This article will discuss the steps that you can take to save the life of a cardiac arrest victim!

Identify the Warning Signs and Symptoms

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The most crucial step in saving a cardiac arrest victim is identifying the early warning signs of a sudden cardiac arrest. A friend, family member, or passerby can present with the following symptoms of cardiac arrest:

Sudden Collapse and Loss of Consciousness

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If a young, healthy individual suddenly collapses, there is a chance that they are suffering from a sudden cardiac arrest. The collapse is due to acute loss of heart function, whereby the body’s vital organs do not receive oxygenated blood, causing loss of consciousness. The victims abruptly fall to the floor without any prior warning or indication.

Loss of Pulse and Breathing

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You should first check whether the person is breathing or not. Notice the movement of the chest and the abdomen. If there is no breathing, there will be no chest movement. 

When cardiac arrest ensues, there is no pulse. You can check the pulse by placing the index and middle on the neck (towards the windpipe) or the radial artery in the wrist.  

Heart Symptoms

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In some cases, the patients present with heart symptoms such as chest discomfort and shortness of breath. A few patients complain of fluttering or pounding of the heart, i.e., cardiac palpitations. However, in most cases, there is a sudden onset of symptoms. 

React Quickly 

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After identifying the cardiac arrest symptoms, you must react quickly, i.e., within a couple of minutes. Every second counts, as the more times the victim is deprived of oxygen-rich blood to the brain, the higher the risk of irreparable brain shrinkage, leading to death. 

Call emergency medical help by dialing 911 and, in the meanwhile, start BLS. Timely intervention can enhance the chances of survival.

Perform Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (Cpr)

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To perform a successful CPR on an adult, you must follow these steps sequentially:

  1. Place the person down on the back on a flat surface to open their airway.
  2. Start by placing the heel of your hand on the victim’s chest. It is better to locate the middle of the chest (on the sternum) and place one hand over the other.   
  3. Push hard down on the chest, pushing at least two inches down.
  4. Perform quick compressions, i.e., 100-120 compressions per minute. 
  5. Let the chest return to its normal position before performing the next push. 
  6. Continue CPR until the patient becomes conscious or emergency help arrives. 
  7. You can stop CPR if the patient starts to breathe and regain consciousness.
  8. Even if the patient becomes conscious, ensure that they get to the hospital, as in many cases, defibrillation is necessary.

Also Read: Major Step Forward In Fabricating An Artificial Heart, Fit For A Human

Defibrillate the Patient: Using Portable Defibrillators 

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Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are now available to administer a shock to cardiac arrest victims, proving to be life-saving devices. 

These portable devices mimic the action of an electric defibrillator found in hospitals and emergency setups. Automated defibrillators can be used at home and are even found in public places to manage cardiac emergencies. AEDS are easy-to-carry, lightweight devices that you can purchase without a prescription. 

When you identify sudden cardiac arrest symptoms in a person in a public place, ask a passerby or shout out loud for a portable defibrillator, as most police, fire, and ambulance vehicles carry the device. Follow these steps and save a life:

Activate the Portable Defibrillator 

Most modern automated defibrillators provide voice instructions for step-by-step use regarding activation. 

Place the Electrode 

Next, position the electrode pads on the patient’s bare chest. The voice commands from the device guide the position of the electrodes. 

Deliver the Defibrillating Shock

Ensure that the pads are in place. Once in place, the device measures the heart rhythm. The device determines the need for a shock. In a mild case, the device informs accordingly. In such scenarios, only CPR can suffice. 

However, the machine will inform you to stand back and push the button when a shock is needed. The AED will also inform you to carry out CPR after delivery of the shock. 

Where Can You Get the Best BLS/ACLS Training?

The American Medical Resource Institute is a reliable education center that empowers you with courses such as BLS training and ACLS (advanced cardiovascular life support) training. These courses can help you save the lives of victims suffering from cardiac arrest!

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