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First Aid Measures for Sudden Cardiac Arrest

By Justin Haagen on Jun 28, 2016 at 10:49 PM in Managing Medical Emergencies, Simple Life-Saving Skills

Sudden cardiac arrest, or SCA, can occur without warning to anyone, at any time.

SCA is one of the leading causes of death among adults in industrialized countries. Sudden cardiac arrest happens when the normal electrical impulses in the heart unexpectedly become disorganized. The normally coordinated mechanical contraction of the heart muscle is lost, and a chaotic, quivering condition known as ventricular fibrillation can occur.

CPR: Buying Time

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, allows a bystander to restore some oxygen to the brain through a combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths. By itself, CPR is only a temporary measure that can buy time until more advanced care can be provided.

The most effective treatment for ventricular fibrillation is defibrillation.To defibrillate, electrode pads are applied to the chest and an electrical shock is sent between the pads through the heart. This shock stops ventricular fibrillation so the heart’s normal electrical activity can return. For each minute a person is in cardiac arrest, the chance of surviving decreases by about 10 percent. After as little as 10 minutes, defibrillation is rarely successful.

The amount of time it takes to recognize a problem, activate EMS, and have EMS respond and defibrillate is usually longer than 10 minutes. In most cases, it’s too late.

If you see an Adult collapse suddenly, isn’t breathing or only gasping, is not responsive to voice for touch, looks dead, CALL 911- then push hard and fast in the center of the chest.

 Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Each year, about 350,000 coronary heart disease deaths occur out-of hospital or in an emergency departments. Of those deaths, about 166,200 are due to sudden cardiac arrest. With CPR /AED training , you might save some of these lives.

Time is Critical

Time is Critical

For each minute a person is in cardiac arrest, the chance of surviving decreases by about 10 percent. After as little as 10 minutes, defibrillation is rarely successful. The amount of time it takes to recognize a problem, activate EMS, and have EMS respond and defibrillate is usually longer than 10 minutes. In most cases, it’s too late.

FREE Download: Sudden Cardiac Arrest Fact Sheet

Prevention and Treatment of Cardiomyopathy







Experienced Instructors; RNís with Masters of Science degrees and EMTís combined with over 35 years of Medical experience and teaching. CERT Instructor for City of Santa Barbara Fire Department/City of Goleta.