Sudden Cardiac Arrest: How to Respond in an Emergency
As the saying goes, knowledge is power. When it comes to emergencies, having the right knowledge and skills can truly be the difference between life and death. One such emergency that can strike anyone at any time is sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).
SCA is a condition where the heart stops beating unexpectedly. This can happen due to a variety of reasons, such as a heart attack, an arrhythmia, or an inherited heart condition. When the heart stops beating, chaos ensues, stopping blood from pumping around the body. SCA can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, health condition, or ethnicity.
Each year in the UK, there are approximately 60,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, and only 8.6% of them survive. Without immediate treatment, 90-95 percent of SCA victims will die. The key to increasing the likelihood of survival is educating more people about how to respond when someone is suffering from SCA.
What is SCA?
The infographic from Defibshop explains the different aspects of sudden cardiac arrest — what it is, what causes it, and how to respond when it happens. SCA is caused by an electrical problem in the heart that stops it from pumping blood effectively. In contrast, a heart attack is caused by a blockage in the blood vessels that supply the heart muscle with blood.
SCA can happen to anyone, regardless of age or health. It is important to learn to recognize the signs of SCA, which include sudden collapse, lack of pulse, and unresponsiveness. In contrast, during a heart attack, the person usually remains conscious and can describe their symptoms.
What steps can you take to help?
The infographic details important steps that can be taken when someone is suffering from SCA. These include calling the emergency services immediately and starting cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) as soon as possible. CPR involves giving chest compressions and rescue breaths to keep the blood flowing until medical help arrives.
Additionally, using an automated external defibrillator (AED) can improve the chances of survival. AEDs are portable devices that can deliver an electric shock to the heart to restore its normal rhythm. Many public places, such as airports, malls, and schools, have AEDs that can be used in an emergency.
It is crucial to remember that time is of the essence when it comes to SCA. Every minute that passes without treatment reduces the likelihood of survival. Therefore, anyone who witnesses someone collapsing and showing signs of SCA should take immediate action.
Why education is important
Educating more people about SCA and how to respond can have a significant impact on survival rates. It is essential to spread awareness about the signs and symptoms of SCA, and to encourage people to learn CPR and how to use an AED.
Many organizations offer training in CPR and AED use. These courses are usually short and accessible and can give people the skills and confidence to respond in an emergency. Learning these skills can create a sense of empowerment and readiness in the community, enabling more people to respond quickly and effectively when someone experiences SCA.
In conclusion, sudden cardiac arrest is a serious condition that requires immediate attention. Knowing the signs and symptoms of SCA, calling emergency services, starting CPR, and using an AED can make a crucial difference in saving a life. By educating more people about SCA and how to respond, we can improve the chances of survival and reduce the impact of this life-threatening condition.