Knowing what to do in a cardiac emergency
By SHANNON WILLIAMS
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a condition where every second counts when working to save someone’s life.
SCA is when the heart transcends from a normal, steady rhythm to one that is sporadic, and chaotic; which is also known as “fibrillation.” When this occurs blood cannot effectively flow through the body. As a result of increased instances of SCA, nearly 900 Americans die everyday from the medical episode.
In the event that an SCA sufferer escapes death, their brain cells can still begin to die in as little as four minutes without oxygen.
That’s why the role of bystanders is so important.
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) helps to save the lives of SCA victims, but time is of essence. Below is a quick reference guide that provides the step-by-step process of being a CPR rescuer. While the tips are beneficial, experts suggest actually attending a CPR class and obtaining the proper certification.
The basics of CPR
- Be sure to have someone call 9-1-1 as soon as you notice that an individual has gone into cardiac arrest.
- There are two components to CPR: rescue breaths and chest compressions.
- To determine if a person needs CPR, first determine if that individual can respond to voice or touch. If not, the rescuer’s job is to open the airway of the victim. The next steps detail the process of performing CPR:
I. Tilt the victim’s head back
II. Left the victim’s chin. Place your head near the victim’s mouth and nose to listen for normal breathing. If the victim isn’t breathing normally, the rescuer should give two rescue breaths that make the chest move.
III. While keeping the head tilted and chin lifted, the rescuer should pinch the victim’s nose closed.
IV. Rescuer should then place their mouth over the victim’s.
V. Deliver two breaths, each as long as a second (be sure to watch the victim’s chest to ensure movement).
VI. Rescuer should place the heel of one hand in the middle of the victim’s chest, between the nipples.
VII. Rescuer should then place the heel of the other hand on top of the first hand for additional support.
VIII. Begin pushing the chest down forcefully. Don’t be afraid to push hard because it’s the only way to produce air during CPR. Be sure to count as you press.
IX. After each compression, let the chest rise completely before beginning the next compression.
X. The American Heart Association recommends rescuers give 30 compressions, then two more breaths, followed by 30 compressions and so forth.