Preventing Death Due to Cardiac Arrest

July 26, 2016Comments Off on Preventing Death Due to Cardiac Arrest

For most people, SCA can mean a death sentence. After all, SCA, or Sudden Cardiac Arrest, means something causes your heart to abruptly stop beating. This, consequently, means that blood to other major organs are abruptly put to a stop. If left untreated for a couple of minutes, it can lead to death. For those who survived the ordeal, however, the risk for a second attack is increased. Fortunately, there is a way to lower such risk.

At-Risk Situations

While SCA can happen to anyone, certain groups of people tend to have a higher risk for the said condition. This would include those who:

  • Have had a previous case of SCA
  • Those have sedentary lives
  • Those who have had heart problems

According to researches, those who have had SCA in the past but have had an ICD, or Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator, in place, are at lesser risk for a repeat of the condition. The implant is typically placed under the skin near the chest area. What this device does is monitor heartbeat. In case there is an abnormality in the pattern, it sends out electrical impulses that shocks the heart muscle in order to get it back to its normal rhythm. Now, you have to keep in mind, however, that an ICD and a pacemaker are two different implants; however, some ICD models already come with a pacemaker. The main difference between the two is the fact that ICDs are triggered only when there is a cessation in the beating pattern while a pacemaker ensures that the beats are according to a certain rhythm.

Now, living a sedentary life can give rise to a number of medical conditions concerning one’s heart. This could include diabetes, hypertension, and coronary heart diseases. That being the case, some of your options would include making sure that you follow your doctor’s advice as far as medications are concerned. These medications are typically aimed at addressing your particular condition. That said, you would probably have a medication for your hypertension, a medication to prevent blood clots, and a medication to reduce your heart’s workload. In the case of diabetes, your doctor would most likely prescribe what kind of food you can and cannot eat. In the same manner, you would also be provided with insulin shots in order to manage your blood sugar level. On the other hand, if you have CHD (Coronary Heart Disease), one of the options that would be presented to you would include percutaneous coronary intervention. This procedure is more commonly known as angioplasty and has been proven to lower the risk for an SCA if you are already suffering from CHD.

Healthy Lifestyle

At the end of the day, the best way to ensure that you would not be going unconscious and needing a CPR would be to live a healthy lifestyle. This does not mean you have to eat bland food. In some cases, this would just mean taking everything in moderation. It also pays to exercise on a regular basis and ensure that you do not stress yourself out too much.

Cardiac Arrest and Hypothermia

July 22, 2016Comments Off on Cardiac Arrest and Hypothermia

Cardiac arrest is a sudden disease that strikes individuals that have been living a sedentary lifestyle. It comes in the most unexpected places, and the most inopportune times. Without quick treatment, cardiac arrest will claim the life of the individual. Cardiac arrest has become the worst disease to claim the lives of individuals. With very minimal symptoms, or with signs showing themselves much too late, the only way to deal with it is through quick treatment and proper recuperation and support.

Treatments

Treatments for sudden cardiac arrest must be quick. In 4 minutes, irreversible brain damage happens and in ten minutes, no form of revival, no matter how advanced can help in bringing back the victim. This is why there are a lot of precautionary measures that is known to people. One of these measures is cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR. This is a skill that can be learned by anyone willing enough to undergo training. Calling emergency services is important, as for those that are not trained, emergency services can instruct the person on rudimentary CPR for the victim.

There are also publicly available defibrillators which can be used to further increase the chances of revival of the sudden cardiac arrest victim. These defibrillators are very easy to use and do not need specialized training to be effective. The only requirement is knowing where to put the pads which can be indicate by the defibrillator in its storage. After that, the defibrillator automatically determines if there is a need for shocking of a person.

Recuperation

Recuperation involves the use of numerous techniques based on the need of the patient. This can involve physical therapy for those that may have suffered from mobility problems after recuperation.  For those who may feel weak, sufficient diet and proper rest can help. Physical therapy is mostly needed when there are injuries as well, perhaps a bad fall during the arrest, or subsequent consequences due to the arrest. Either way, physical therapy is a growing branch of medicine and can prove to be a great help in the future for cardiac arrest patients.

Hypothermia

Hypothermia is a disease caused by being exposed to extremely low temperatures. When it comes to sudden cardiac arrest however, inducing hypothermia in a person is a great therapy. This type of therapy is done for patients of sudden cardiac arrest that has been revived although have not woken up from sleep yet. This is a way of preserving the body while the heart is on low activity. With the heart pumping weaker than usual, the body may still have inadequate supply of oxygen, causing it to deteriorate. The controlled temperature, especially the cold, can help in preserving the organs and keeping their activity low. With lowered activity, they would not be needing more oxygen, so that the heart can keep up.

With cardiac arrest becoming a very serious problem, more research has been done, leading to the discovery of more ways of treatment. With more people being aware of these treatments and procedures, the chances of saving someone who is suffering from sudden cardiac arrest can be increased, giving the individual another chance in changing his lifestyle. The change in lifestyle shall be for better health, and for lowering the risks of suffering another cardiac arrest.

A Brief History of Cardiac Arrest

July 20, 2016Comments Off on A Brief History of Cardiac Arrest

Most people would not care about the history of sudden cardiac arrest and the ways people have tried treating it, but it doesn’t hurt to know, and it comes off as a very interesting fact to share. There is a certain eccentricity when it comes to the different old age treatments for sudden cardiac arrest. Well, being faced with a situation such as cardiac arrest, people would have thought of treatments in a different light then.

Historical documentaries have shown that there are some very weird treatments for CPR. One treatment included the procedure of rubbing certain rough cloths as well as use some mixtures involving liquor to rub on the person under cardiac arrest. This sounds more like a thanksgiving recipe more than anything else. There are also treatments that included blowing smoke from a pipe to the mouth of a victim. This was a precursor for the implementation of mouth to mouth resuscitation. Unfortunately, this line of thinking deviated, and ended up being ‘blowing smoke into an animal bladder and releasing it in the rectum of the victim.’ Not really a good way to wake a person from near-death. Which is just so, as it is a very ineffective treatment. Finally, the craziest one in the bunch of historical CPR treatments involved the use of a horse. The victim was placed on top of the horse face down. The horse was then stimulated by a whip or some sort. This would cause the horse to move about and gallop, possibly exerting force on the chest area of the victim, stimulating the heart. This means that the treatment might have been effective for some, and doctors and scientists found out about how it works, and implemented it in the CPR that we know today.

CPR has developed interestingly throughout the years. Alongside its development, defibrillators have shown their improvements as well. Defibrillators were once only used alongside surgery, as the electric current had to be delivered to the heart. It improved and has become usable even without surgery, with the help of electropads. In modern times, there are now defibrillators that can be carried around easily, and can automatically detect signs of irregular heart beat rhythms, and deliver an appropriate amount of shock. Although not as interesting as the development of CPR throughout the years, seeing the development of defibrillators reflect the technological advancements that we have received.

These advancements have paved the way to the CPR and the AED that we have today. It is good to look back at the quirks and developments that the procedure and the equipment has undergone, but it is also important to look forward and learn about current trends and advancements. Attending a training and certification course for administering CPR and using an automatic external defibrillator can help people understand more about them as well as cardiac arrest. Getting to know these procedures can help greatly in the future, or in case someone within proximity falls victim to sudden cardiac arrest. Do your duty and get trained and informed.

Before, During, and After a Cardiac Arrest

July 18, 2016Comments Off on Before, During, and After a Cardiac Arrest

SCA or sudden cardiac arrest is a major debilitating disease that has a very high mortality rate and has only a small margin of revival before a person succumbs to it. SCA is a heart problem, although there are other factors that could lead to the development of the disease.

Before a Cardiac Arrest

One of the reasons why cardiac arrest claims so many lives every year is the lack of noticeable symptoms that it should exhibit. One minute, and individual can go from walking around or doing any normal activity, another minute they hit the floor. Even the individual may not know what is happening until it is too late.

There are instances however, when people feel a persistent pain in their chest. This is caused by the heart undergoing erratic behavior and receiving electric signals ha make the pumping irregular. This is considered as the onset of ventricular fibrillation. This means that the heart is pumping in irregular rhythms, leading to a cessation of function. With the heart stopping due to electrical signals malfunctioning, there are ways in which the problem can be reversed.

During a Cardiac Arrest

During a cardiac arrest, it is important that people within the immediate vicinity be alert and able to act quickly. One of the primary aspects of a successful revival of a sudden cardiac arrest patient is the quick response such as performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation and using an automatic external defibrillator. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation helps keep the patient’s body alive for a higher chance of revival, while an automatic external defibrillator can help in giving a surge of electricity that could potentially restore the normal flow of electric signals. With restored rhythm, there is a chance that the return of sudden circulation can happen. This may or may not bring back the consciousness of the patient. It is important that emergency services are contacted immediately before performing CPR or using an AED in a patient.

After a Cardiac Arrest

There are a lot of possible outcomes from a cardiac arrest, and it is affected by a lot of factors. The speed of action for first aid and advanced life support play major roles. The worst possible outcome is the failure of revival of the sudden cardiac arrest patient. Other outcomes can be partial revival, meaning the patient is alive but unconscious, or the patient can be fully revived with consciousness. Other than the three, there are also other complications such as weakened physical state, an affected mental state, or injuries caused by consequences of the cardiac arrest or because of the intensity of CPR done. Either way, after cardiac arrest, there will be treatments to keep the body alive for the unconscious, or therapy for those that would require recuperation from physical injuries.

Whatever the case may be, everyone should be involved in helping people undergoing SCA. More people mobilizing to save an individual’s life is sure to help reduce the frightening statistics that sudden cardiac arrest poses for citizens of the country. From CPR training to having an AED, these simple things can be great tools in the time of need.

The CPR Trinity: Speed, Force, and Rate

July 14, 2016Comments Off on The CPR Trinity: Speed, Force, and Rate

There are three main aspects of a successful CPR to always keep in mind. These are speed, force, and rate. Keeping in mind these three can be the key in saving the life of someone who has had cardiac arrest. A clear mind is always important when it comes to dealing with a cardiac arrest event as it happens.

The mind is the most important thing emergency responders, even bystanders, must hone in the event of a person suffering cardiac arrest within the proximity. There have been cases where panic-stricken people were left unable to help the people experiencing cardiac arrest, diminishing the chances of revival completely. This is what training for CPR is a necessary thing to undergo, as it not only teaches the skills to use in the event of cardiac arrest, it also teaches responders how to be able to deal with an event like this.

One of the most important skill that responders will learn during training is establishing a chain of command starting from themselves. As the one that is going to administer CPR, the responder is the one with the calmest mind and can command others to provide assistance. It is important that tasks should be given to specific people and not to a crowd, as crowd mentality would think that someone ese would do the given task anyway. If everyone thought like this, then no one would. Calling emergency services is the first thing to do which must be tasked to a specific person in a crowd is possible, or by the responder themselves if there are no one else available.

After calling for emergency services, compressions must be done immediately. Every minute not doing compressions will drop the survival rate by ten percent. At four minutes, the person can be declared brain dead due to lack of oxygen-delivering blood to the brain. This does not necessarily mean that performing mouth-to-mouth is important, as some responders are not inclined to do the act. Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation has been deemed as optional for those who are not trained to perform CPR. Trained people, can however, compressions are always top priority. Thanks to the speed of action, the chances of survival has increased.

For compressions to be successful, there should be proper force and rate of pumping. Without it, the compressions are rendered useless. The speed in which the responder could be for naught. Compressions should not be weak. Fearing that the ribs may break is pointless as the patient is technically dead as of the moment. If the price of being brought back to life is a rib, then I think it is a price that most people are willing to pay. Rate should come regularly as well. Compressions done too slow or too erratically is pointless as the flow of blood to other parts of the body is the same.

Keeping note of the three aspects for successfully keeping a cardiac arrest patient’s survival high is a necessity with today’s increasing mortality rates due to cardiac arrest. Do your part and learn CPR today.

Why Invest in an AED

July 12, 2016Comments Off on Why Invest in an AED

An automatic external defibrillator has become one of the most common items to be seen in most hospitals, medical facilities, and public places. And it is there for good reason! An automatic external defibrillator, or an AED, is a device that can help deal with certain types of cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrests occur when there is a scramble with the electric signals being sent out by the heart. This in turn gets the heart pumping irregularly and eventually stops. There are two types of cardiac arrests – shockable and non-shockable. Shockable cardiac arrests are once that stop the heart best because the electric signals disappear as well. Non-shockable cardiac arrests mean that defibrillation will not help at all. An AED is able to determine I the cardiac arrest happening is shockable or non-shockable as it can detect electric signals in the heart. Upon detecting the lack of electric signals, a shock is delivered, which hopefully restarts the heart.

There are a lot of private establishments that still do not carry an AED. Although there are regulations in all states regarding the ownership of an AED especially for establishments, it is not mandated, but merely encouraged. This is why people tend to cut costs and not purchase an AED at all. An AED is a worthy investment.

For those thinking that not buying an AED is saving them money, then think again.  The American Red Cross estimates upwards of 1.3 million dollars’ worth of direct and indirect costs. This just shows that an AED is much more affordable, and with the risk for sudden cardiac arrest in this country increasing, it is safe to assume that an AED will be of great help anytime.

As said before, sudden cardiac arrest has increased and has become the leading cause of death in the country. These arrests can happen anywhere: at home, school, or within any establishment. This is why having an AED within yours is a good safety precaution.

An AED is a good way of supplementing the waiting period before paramedics arrive. Having first aid ready can increase the leeway for the paramedics and emergency life support services before arrival. With only ten minutes as the period where the body can be revived, every possible way of increasing this time is much welcomed.

When establishment owners think that they will never even need an AED, that is a huge mistake. Out of all the establishments that have bought an AED, a third has used it out of necessity – saving the life of an individual.

With these reasons, there is no question about the importance of an AED within an establishment. By investing in an AED and learning how to use it properly, as well as implementing other first aid programs, it can create a safe environment for those susceptible to sudden cardiac arrest. A combined effort to do so can create a great environment for those that may be experiencing this problem is the duty of everyone, so go ahead and invest in a proper AED and first aid training.

Getting to the Beat

July 8, 2016Comments Off on Getting to the Beat

In cardiopulmonary resuscitation, getting the right beat is important. The human heart has an average number of beats, and this allows the blood to be effectively pumped all throughout the body. All areas of the body require constant blood supply or else they might fail and suffer. It is a known fact that if the heart stops, there is only very little time before the rest of the body ceases to function as well. This is because the blood that flows through the body carries oxygen, the fuel that powers every single cell in our entire body. This is why CPR exists.

Function of CPR

CPR exists so that even if the heart ceases its normal function, external forces can be applied so that the blood keeps flowing. CPR uses force pressed upon the chest of a person who has suffered from cardiac arrest so that the heart is compressed, keeping the blood flowing. The heart works by compressing and returning to its original position repeatedly, and at a very fast pace. The circulatory system of the body works hand in hand with the respiratory system so that deoxygenated blood can be ‘restocked’ and then used again to deliver oxygen to different parts of the body.

Following the Beat

The heart beats very fast, upwards of 100 per minute. For CPR to be effective, the person administering CPR should be able to compress the chest area at the same rate, and at regular intervals too. This can be done by following the beat of the song ‘Staying Alive’. This is a well-known fact and is one that hold true up to this day. Getting the beat faster is acceptable, but getting much too slow can prove the effort for CPR ineffective in the end. What is important is that the person administering CPR can balance speed and force so that the chest compressions delivered contain enough force to compress the heart itself, while maintaining a steady speed. This procedure may be draining to the stamina of the person trying to help, but it is important to carry on until advanced life support arrives for the patient.

Changes in the Procedure

As mentioned earlier, the importance of blood flow is the oxygen that it delivers to other parts of the body. If cardiac arrest occurs there is still plenty amount of oxygen in the lungs which the blood will be able to take and deliver. This is why there has been a change in the steps in the procedure for CPR. Before, it was important to clear the airway first, then perform breathing into the person, and finally doing compressions. Now, compressions have taken the forefront of the procedure, followed only by the optional fixing of the airway and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The second two has become optional because it has been seen to be ineffective when done by the untrained. Trained people are more than welcome to perform CPR with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation so that oxygen can be replenished.

All these information can be learned in-depth by attending a CPR training course, and getting certified while doing so can help a person who may need it, if the time arises.

What Comes After Cardiac Arrest

July 6, 2016Comments Off on What Comes After Cardiac Arrest

It is the best ending if a victim of sudden cardiac arrest is revived. Movies often show this fateful event as someone gasping for breath as soon as they awake. This just shows how amazing the event is for anyone involved. A person that has been performing CPR will feel success, the biggest kind, in saving the life of someone. It may be a stranger, or it can be a close friend, or family. No matter who it is, getting back the life which was almost life is an impactful event for anyone.

Treatments and Examinations

What is not seen in most dramatization is what happens after being revived. A person that has suffered cardiac arrest and was revived has a lot of things to deal with after. Some of these things can be due to the cause of cardiac arrest, some due to the event itself. When cardiac arrest occurs, it brings to light a slew of problems in the health of the patient. This is why there are a lot of treatments to undergo after cardiac arrest.

A lot of examinations is done to the patient of the body to find the underlying cause of the arrest. It can be due to family history, diabetes, hypertension, or anything within the spectrum of sudden cardiac arrest causes. After examinations, most underlying causes can be found. Treatments for these causes will begin to prevent further instances of sudden cardiac arrest.

Physical Injury

During a cardiac arrest, there are a lot of accidents that can occur. It all depends on the location of the arrest. There are many instances of cardiac arrest while driving, while in an incline, or somewhere isolated. Accidents may occur in these locations as well as the initial fall after losing consciousness as a result of sudden cardiac arrest. This may require additional treatments and therapy after being revived.

During cardiopulmonary resuscitation, there may be too much intensity that ribs can fracture due to the pressure and force being exerted towards pumping. Although this is normal and easily treatable, it is still an injury to take note of. Even trained and certified people to perform CPR can break ribs, but what are a few broken ribs in exchange for the life of a person?

Mental Impact

Surviving from cardiac arrest is a great ordeal to overcome, and it may leave lasting impressions on victims. This is why after sudden cardiac arrest occurs, visiting the shrink can be a common thing for the patient to do. No matter how strong the mentality of a person may be, life and death situations activate primal fear, and as sudden cardiac arrest allows neither fight nor flight, it affects the mentality of most people immensely.

Getting support from loved ones can help in dealing with all the effects of surviving sudden cardiac arrest, and no matter how cliché it may be, keeping the person feeling loved and happy is the best way to support them in these trying times after recovering from sudden cardiac arrest.

Revived Cardiac Arrest Patients

July 4, 2016Comments Off on Revived Cardiac Arrest Patients

Cardiac arrest has become a commonplace cause of death of a large number of people in the country. It can strike anytime, anywhere, and anyone who is living a sedentary lifestyle is in danger. There have been a lot of instances of sudden cardiac arrest in public places, and thankfully, these places had come equipped with portable defibrillators and people skilled with cardiopulmonary resuscitation were present as well. Thanks to the equipment and the quick response, those who suffered from sudden cardiac arrest were given a second chance in life.

The Second Chance

Being revived from cardiac arrest may come at a price, but it is a price that most people are willing to pay. Between choosing death or life with some penalties, life seems to be a much better option. People who have been revived can get back to their lives like nothing happened, only if first aid and resuscitation is done on minute zero. Every minute that passes can decrease the chances of revival, but with the use of CPR and with shocks from an AED, the chances can remain favorable.

Given a second chance, some people do carry effects from the sudden cardiac arrest. Those who have survived have reported a lot of effects, some physical, some mental.

Physical effects of sudden cardiac arrest may be staggering at first. There are a lot of people that needed hospital confinement for a long time. Others also required therapy and long term recuperation. One of the most common physical effects of cardiac arrest is broken ribs. This is because during CPR, a lot of force is needed when delivering compressions. This means that there are a lot of chances for ribs to break during the process. Broken ribs are much better than not being able to get a second chance.

For those administering CPR, even if the ribs are broken, there are no repercussions even when damage is done to a victim of sudden cardiac arrest. This is because any and all attempts in revival is covered by Good Samaritan laws in all states.

Mental effects of sudden cardiac arrest are more unrecognizable, but the dangers are still present. One of the most common effects of sudden cardiac arrest on a victim after successful revival is depression. Depression may be caused by other extraneous factors such as financial problems due to the costs of healthcare. Patients also develop a lingering sense of fear due to the events that have happened. Other than the fear and the depression, a lot of negative things can happen. Cardiac arrest can be a very debilitating disease both physically and mentally, but with the support of good people around the victims, recuperation and further healing is possible.

Revived cardiac arrest patients, being given a second chance to live again, may require a lot of medical attention, as well as loving and being surrounded with people that care. With these things, getting the patients back into good health may be a task, but it is a task worth doing.

What is Pulseless Electrical Activity?

June 30, 2016Comments Off on What is Pulseless Electrical Activity?

Pulseless electrical activity, shortened to PEA, is a form of cardiac arrest where the heart completely stops and loses all electrical activity. This is quite different from the normal sudden cardiac arrest. The usual sudden cardiac arrest has traces of erratic electric signals which causes ventricular fibrillation or arrhythmia. These traces of electric signals allow for the use of defibrillation. Defibrillation is the use of external electric currents to stimulate the remaining electrical signals in the heart of a sudden cardiac arrest victim. This is why if using a defibrillator is not possible, calling emergency services for advanced life support and performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation can potentially save the life of someone with PEA cardiac arrest.

PEA and AED

Pulseless electrical activity does not allow the use of an automatic external defibrillator due to the lack of electric signals. An AED is a smaller version of hospital defibrillators and these smaller defibrillators can be used by anyone who is able to understand words and diagrams written on the display of the AED. Even if AED is insufficient, it is still important that establishments have it because it is very effective for those that have electric signals still in their heart.

PEA and CPR

Victims of PEA cardiac arrest should still have CPR performed on them as advanced life support can still find a way to save them. Not performing CPR truly cements the status of the victim as deceased. This is why CPR is a recommended training course for every citizen as it allows people to revive other individuals on a great number of occasions. Although minimizing the instances of these occasions with the help of changing lifestyles and choosing better nutrition can help, being alert and prepared all the time for these instances should always be considered.

PEA and Beta Blockers

Pulseless electrical activity as a cause of cardiac arrest has been getting more common, and studies claim the increase in beta blocker use has been a cause. Beta blockers are prescription medicine for those suffering from weak hearts and hypertension. Although beta blockers are effective against hypertension and other diseases that could lead to a heart attack, there are still some questions as to the effect of beta blockers to pulseless electrical activity.

It is important that people learn about pulseless electrical activity and how to deal with it so that more people can be revived and given a second chance to restore a healthy lifestyle. People should find out about ways and treatments such as nearby AED locations in their most frequented establishments. Establishment owners should invest in an AED to help those with types of cardiac arrest that can be revived. Finally, every able-bodied citizen should learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation. This can be done by attending a lesson in a school, learning online, with the possibility of getting certified.  By doing this, anyone can help a person that has collapsed and has no breathing or pulse. Every single life is important, so invest in these ways soon and save a life.

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