Cardiac arrest happens to over 350,000 people a year. Every 33 seconds in the U.S. someone dies due to a heart related incident. The survival rate nationwide is about 8%, in Minnesota only slightly higher at about 14% (2011/2012). The chain of survival includes early 911, early CPR, early AED, Advanced Life Support and Cardiac Care Centers. The most important, but often avoided, steps in a cardiac arrest are early CPR and AED use. These steps can double, if not triple, survival according to the American Heart Association. The most important thing you can do is call 911, start CPR and request an AED if one is available.

Cardiac Arrest: this is a serious problem that requires IMMEDIATE ACTION! Call 911 and start CPR. This is an electrical issue that is causing a lethal rhythm in the heart that is not producing blood flow to the rest of the body (no heart beat) including the brain. Left untreated, the person has no chance of survival.

Remember doing something is always better than doing nothing!

ASSESSMENT. Make sure BOTH you and the patient are safe. Check the patient – tap and shout: if no response – CALL 911. Check for breathing or signs of life.

CPR. Begin Chest compressions – compress at least 2″ on the center of the chest. Compress 100 beats per minute to the beat of ‘Stayin Alive.’ Minimize interruptions to chest compressions and lift hand between pushes. Infants to @ age 8 – 30 compressions and 2 quick breaths – repeat.

AED. Retrieve and use as soon as possible – before CPR or upon arrival. Turn on the unit – by pressing on button or opening. Follow the voice prompts – remove clothing from chest and apply pads. Allow the AED to analyze and deliver shock if indicated. Make sure no one is touching the patient when shock is delivered. Continue CPR; if no shock indicated, continue CPR until help arrives.

TIPS. Don’t be afraid. Your actions will only help. 70% of cardiac arrests happen at home – be prepared. Every minute that goes by – chance of survival drops by 10%.

You can make a difference – you could save a life!!!