In cardiac arrests, a person’s heart stops beating and he stops breathing, thus cutting the supply of oxygen to the body. To help a person in cardiac arrest, first aid should be done as quickly as possible. Cardiac arrests that last for more than 5 minutes can cause brain damage while those that last more than 10 minutes can cause death. Pop superstar Michael Jackson is said to have died of cardiac arrest.
People who have histories of cardiac arrests, heart attacks and coronary artillery disease have greater risks. Thus, family and friends around these high-risk patients must always be ready with what to do.
A person in cardiac arrest has faint or no pulse and lies motionless. Immediately check the signs of breathing; look at the chest if it moves up and down, listen to breathing sounds and move close to feel air movement. If the patient is not breathing, examine quickly any cause of airway blockage in the throat or the mouth.
An automated external defibrillator (AED), if available, should be used to revive the heartbeat. Then, call for emergency medical assistance or ask someone to make the call as you administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to the patient. CPR must be continued until the person has recovered or medical assistance has arrived.
Several organizations in the country, including the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross, as well as different hospitals conduct training courses on the use of AEDs and the proper administration of CPR. It is important that everyone learns this basic life-saving technique and to be updated with recent developments and improvements of procedures.