Discover how you can learn how to save a life today.
Death from cardiac arrest is not inevitable. Brain death and pemanent death can start to occur in just 4 to 6 minutes afer someone experiences cardiac arrest, so time is of the essence for cardiac arrest victims.
First, let's start with the basics. Cardiac arrest is the sudden, abrupt loss of heart function that is most often caused by coronary artery disease or a cardiac arrhthmyia, i.e., abnormal heart rhythm such as ventricular fibrillation or quiverig of the ventricular chamber(s) of the heart. The irregulart heart rhythm, known as arrhthmyia, causes the heart to suddenly stop beating. During cardiac arrest, the victim loses consciousness, stops normal breathing and loses pulse and blood pressure.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) keeps blood and oxygen flowing to the heart and brain until defibrillation can be administered. Unfortunately, less than one-third of cardiac arrest victims get CPR. Most bystanders are worried that they might do something wrong or make things worse.
Here's what you can do: When an adult suddenly collapses, (1) call 9-1-1, and (2) push hard and fast in the center of the chest. Those two steps, called "hands-only CPR", can be as effective as conventional CPR, according to the American Heart Association.
In cases where CPR and defibrillation is provided within five to seven minutes after onset of cardiac arrest, the survival rate from cardiac arrest is as high as 30% to 45%, according to studies by the American Heart Association. If every community could achieve a 20 percent cardiac arrest survival rate, an estimated 40,000 more lives could be saved each year.
Lesson for the day: find a CPR class at the local American Red Cross to learn the basics of CPR. A hour of your time at the CPR course might save a life one day!