KNOWING CPR CAN HELP SAVE LIVES. HERE’S HOW
MARCH 8, 2020 @ 5.05PM
When cardiac arrest occurs, the heart stops pumping blood. Permanent brain damage begins after 4 minutes without oxygen, and death can occur 4-6 minutes later. Minutes matter when someone collapses from a cardiac arrest. Knowing what is happening means you can respond quicker, and maybe save a life.
The difference between cardiac arrest and heart attack
There is a difference between cardiac arrest and heart attack. A heart attack is when one of the coronary arteries becomes blocked. The heart muscle is robbed of its vital blood supply and, if left untreated, will begin to die because it is not getting enough oxygen and it increases the risk for going into cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest is when a person's heart stops beating and they stop breathing normally or is only gasping.
Someone in cardiac arrest will collapse, stop breathing, and have no pulse. That's the time to begin bystander CPR. The first step is the most important: call 999. Once you've reported the emergency, you can begin chest compressions. Bystander CPR offers many survival advantages: it is associated with a two-to three-fold increase in survival when compared to victims who had no CPR before the arrival of emergency medical services personnel.
Research shows that Hands-Only CPR (without mouth-to-mouth resuscitation) performed by a bystander is just as effective in the first few minutes of sudden cardiac arrest. Hands-only CPR helps pump blood throughout the body and sends oxygen to the brain and vital organs, giving the person a better chance at survival until help arrives.
You only need your two hands to help someone survive a cardiac arrest.
“For every 60 seconds that pass, chances of surviving drops by 10% without CPR,” explains Dr Patrick Cheah (pix) Consultant Emergency Medicine and Physician from Regency Specialist Hospital.
“After 12 minutes, if CPR is not administered, survival is rare.”
Research data also show that the use of Automated External Defibrillator (AED) in addition to bystander CPR can significantly improve survival and outcomes by up to 75%.
Taking matters into your own hands
Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrests (OHCA) occur at public settings (18.8%), at homes/residences (69.5%) and nursing homes (11.7%).
“As majority of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen at home, if you are trained to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), when the need arises, you will be grateful to have the skills and training to help someone you love when their life depends on it,” says Patrick.
Not living with someone who has chronic health conditions at home so therefore you are less likely to administer CPR? This is not the case at all.
Says Patrick, “Cardiac arrest doesn’t just happen to people with chronic health conditions. Choking, traumatic accidents, drowning and electrical shock can all lead to a person going into cardiac arrest. Some health conditions like heart disease, infections, allergic reactions and others can also contribute to a sudden cardiac arrest event.”
Cardiac arrest can happen fast and when you least expect it. Be ready to help someone in a life-threatening situation by learning CPR and using your knowledge and skills to assist them until medical personnel arrive. You don’t need formal training to know how to perform CPR; you just need to sign up for a CPR course.
“You may or may not ever have to use your CPR skills. But at least you have the skills and confidence to help in emergency situations. This fact alone could make a difference in somebody’s life,” says Patrick.
What to do
Follow these steps if you see someone in cardiac arrest:
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