Save a Life – Learn the First-Aid Response for Cardiac Arrest


Described as the “most critically ill state a human being can be in” by Dr. Robert W. Neumar of the University of Michigan, cardiac arrest is not just a heart attack, like people commonly see it as. If a person is under a cardiac  arrest, it means the heart abruptly stops beating, ceasing to pump blood around your body. A person is in cardiac arrest if he suddenly collapses, not breathing normally, and remains unresponsive.

Cardiac arrest is a situation that is very critical and needs immediate response. Even if you are just a bystander and doesn’t know anything about first-aid solutions, you can do something.

You can only do a straightforward response for someone who is having an arrest: call 911 immediately, do a CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, do quick and hard compressions of the person’s chest until the rescuers arrive on the scene. If there is an available automated external defibrillator (AED), use it.

A major national campaign has been circulating around to disseminate this information. The campaign sees the need for the public to know what to do in case of emergencies like this as a quick CPR response can double the survival rate of people who are in cardiac arrest. Every year, almost 395,000 people suffer from the arrest outside hospitals, but only 6 percent of them survive. Even in hospitals where doctors and nurses are stationed, only a quarter of the annual rate of 200,000 survive a cardiac arrest. These numbers show how dangerous this situation is for anyone.



In an investigation conducted by the Institute of Medicine, the factors the affect the lack of responses to these patients rely on the public’s knowledge about what a cardiac arrest really is, lack of first-aid training, and some are concerned about legal liability.

A CPR can be summed up in two steps: pump and blow. If the victim is not moving, not breathing, not a sign of coughing, a bystander must begin chest compressions. Push down in the center of the chest at two inches thirty times. Pump hard and fast, at a rate of a hundred per minute (basically faster than one per second). Then do the next step. Tilt the head and lift the chin. Pinch the patient’s nose and cover the mouth with yours. Blow until you see the chest rise. Give two breaths, with each breath taking a second. Continue doing the thirty pumps and two breaths until help arrives.

Some people take this first-aid response lightly, but this is the life-saving solution for someone who is having a cardiac arrest. There should be no room for second thoughts. Imagine a loved one undergoing the same thing, of course  it won’t be easy; so it is just right that when you see someone having an arrest, use the steps above and save a life.

Learn more about CPR by watching these videos.

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