The Heart of the Matter: Understanding Cardiac Arrest and CPR

Understanding what cardiac arrest is and how to perform CPR correctly is crucial. Being able to address an emergency and perform life-saving techniques gives you an opportunity to inspire others to learn how to do it as well.

Having this fundamental knowledge can help prevent fatal OHCA outcomes and improve the victim’s survival rate. When an intervention is required, the person helping must be aware of the circumstances surrounding the accident and the state of the victim.

Understanding cardiac arrest and CPR is crucial for the citizens of Montgomery and all across the US. Below, we will look at cardiac arrest and CPR to help you gain a better understanding of what you need to do in an emergency situation.

Cardiac Arrest: A Breakdown

Cardiac arrest, also known as sudden cardiac arrest, is a medical condition where there is a sudden halt in a heartbeat. Because the heart is not pumping blood, the blood circulation through the body is reduced, unable to reach all the vital organs. As a result, a person experiencing cardiac arrest may lose consciousness or pass away if not treated immediately.

Some people experience some symptoms before going into cardiac arrest. Here is what symptoms might look like:

Severe and immediate symptoms that appear during cardiac arrest include:

      • Interrupted breathing

      • Sudden loss of consciousness

      • No pulse

      • Sudden collapse.

    Symptoms that occur before cardiac arrest:

        • Chest discomfort

        • Nausea

        • Fatigue

        • Dizziness

        • Shortness of breath

        • Physical weakness

        • Heart palpitations manifested as a fast-beating, pounding or fluttering heart.

      The Difference Between Cardiac Arrest and Heart Attack

      When it comes to understanding CPR, there’s one dilemma non-medical persons find themselves in, and that is – differentiating cardiac arrest from heart attack. Cardiac arrest is described as an “electrical problem,” while a heart attack comes from the group of “circulation” problems. Cardiac arrest happens when the heart has no pulse, while heart attack happens when the blood flow to the heart stops.

      Although different, these two cardiological conditions are linked to each other. Generally, heart attacks increase the chance of sudden cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac arrest can occur in the post-heart attack period or during the recovery.

      Understanding CPR: First Aid Technique for Cardiac Arrest

      CPR is a first aid technique that can be learned by anyone. It consists of rhythmic chest compressions combined with rescue breaths. Repetitive chest compressions help mimic the heart’s rhythm, speeding up the blood flow through the body. Maintaining constant blood flow helps prevent brain damage until medics take over.

      Traditional CPR follows a 30:2 ratio – 30 chest compressions followed by 2 rescue breaths. This is the most commonly used technique in emergency situations by trained individuals. An untrained bystander should stick to chest compressions only.

      However, the above steps may be altered to accommodate the victim’s condition, age, and weight. This brings us to our next point – what are the different CPR techniques?

      The Different Types of CPR Techniques

      Depending on the victim and the situation, a patient might need a different approach when it comes to CPR. This is why it is important to assess the situation, check for a heartbeat, and alert 911 before you start performing CPR.

      First, we’ll differentiate between CPR with vs. without rescue breaths:

          • CPR with Rescue Breaths. This is a traditional CPR technique that combines rhythmic chest compressions and rescue breaths. Following the 30:2 ratio, this method combines artificial blood pumping and help with breathing to keep the victim alive until an AED is available or until medical professionals arrive.

          • Hands-Only CPR. Hands-only CPR is a simplified form of CPR where the rescuers perform only compressions. It is advised that hands-only CPR is performed only on adults since children and infants have better results with traditional CPR.

        CPR for Different Age Groups

        Depending on the emergency, rescuers should be aware of the surroundings as well as the age of the victim. Different age groups require different CPR methods, and knowing which to perform on the victim can help save their life.

        Being flexible with your first-aid knowledge can assure more effectiveness and better results in times of emergency. This allows a better chance of survival and quality rescue until the medical teams arrive:

            • CPR for Adults. Adult CPR can be used on individuals older than 12 and follows the rules of traditional CPR with a 30:2 ratio of chest compressions and rescue breaths. Bear in mind that if you are not properly trained or have a CPR certification, it is safer for you to perform hands-only CPR.

            • CPR for Children. Child CPR is applied to children older than 12 months up to the age of twelve. The traditional method ratio is the same for children and adults. When doing chest compressions, you can use one or two hands, depending on the size of the chest. When administering rescue breaths, helpers should be cautious not to tilt the head too much.

            • CPR for Infants. This is the most complex CPR procedure because of the size of the infant’s body and the flexibility and fragility of their bones. Be very gentle when tilting the head in a pose called “sniffing position,” where it appears like the baby is sniffing the air.

          Gently administer rescue breaths and use only two fingers to provide compressions at the center of the chest at the same ratio as traditional CPR.

          CPR Certification: Components & Benefits

          Everything mentioned above is taught in a nicely structured CPR certification training that includes hands-on skill acquisition to help teach students how and when to use these life-saving skills.

          CPR courses are provided online and in-person and are taught by certified instructors. Besides the possibility for first-time learners, recertification courses are also available, allowing trained individuals to refresh their knowledge and learn about the latest updates and techniques.

          The best courses available follow an extensive program that follows the guidelines of the American Heart Association (AHA), and they are available for review in the Red Cross and AHA catalogs.

          CPR Certification Available in Montgomery

          In Montgomery, there are variations of CPR courses available for everyone who wants to learn

          this life-saving skill. Here are some of your options:

              • CPR & AED: Courses that combine CPR and AED skills are most recommended for untrained bystanders who want to finally learn how to help in cardiological emergencies, drownings, choking, etc. AEDs are present at almost every public establishment, and while most have step-by-step instructions, individuals should still learn how to place the adhesive pads properly, how many shocks to provide, and so on.

                • BLS: Basic Life Support courses are targeted toward medical personnel in training, like nurses and EMTs. They teach you how to perform CPR on different age groups, how to approach overdoses, what to do in the case of an obstructed airway, and more. They are a prerequisite for getting a job in the medical field.

              You should know that most certificates remain valid for 2 years before requiring recertification. This is done to ensure that all those who possess a certificate have refreshed their skills and can perform the procedure with confidence.

              Understanding Cardiac Arrest and CPR: Conclusion

              CPR is an emergency technique that is used to save the life of an individual who has suffered sudden cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest happens when the heart stops breathing abruptly. This is usually caused by an electrical malfunction, a pre-existing heart condition, or external factors.

              In times of crisis, this life-extending technique should not replace medical help, so make sure to contact 911 before administering CPR. Be cautious of the situation, the surroundings, and the age group of the victim.

              There are different methods of performing CPR depending on how old the victim is, how much they weigh, and what has happened to them. It is advised that everyone enrolls in a CPR course to learn how to carry out all CPR procedures calmly and efficiently.

              It is recommended to work on understanding cardiac arrest and CPR. The heart of the matter is to fully comprehend everything related to cardiac arrest, so you know what you can do to help.