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Last updated: September 18, 2021

Emergency Treatment of Cardiac Arrest

Emergency Treatment of Cardiac Arrest

Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide, and cardiac arrest alone accounts for almost half of these deaths. Cardiac arrests are sudden and often occur without any warning1. They are caused by arrhythmia such as irregular heartbeats caused by an electrical malfunction of the heart, causing disrupted pumping action of the heart leading to the interrupted blood supply to the vital organs. The victim then loses consciousness and pulse, which leads to sudden death if timely treatment is not provided.

Factors that affect the outcome of cardiac arrest include:

Unfortunately, 90% of those who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest will die CPR. Timely intervention is a very crucial element in this case as the chances of survival of the victim increase by double or tripple if CPR is started immediately.

Signs and symptoms:

The suspect would show the following signs if they are suffering from cardiac arrest:

A person could be suffering from cardiac arrest if they become unconscious and do not breathe normally. CPR must be provided right away as it is proven to play a critical part in the survival of the victim, especially for those who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

Order of Interventions:

Chest compressions are the critical element for the survival of the victim suffering from cardiac arrest. Follow the C-A-B sequence2. In the A-B-C sequence of CPR, the chest compressions were often delayed while the provider dealt with the complexity of maintaining the airway. Also, at times the bystanders hesitate to provide rescue breathing, and this delays the compressions even more. Following the C-A-B sequence of CPR increases the chances of survival as chest compressions are provided much sooner. Thus the sequence of CPR has been changed from A-B-C to C-A-B.

Emergency treatment:

Chest compressions:

Maintaining Airway:

Rescue Breathing:

AED:

Continue providing CPR until the person becomes responsive or the EMS arrive and take over. Even if the victim becomes responsive, leave the defibrillator attached and monitor their level of response. Stay by the side of the victim until medical help arrives.

Stopping CPR:

CPR should only be stopped in the following situations:

Conclusion:

Cardiac arrest can strike anyone, anywhere at any time, without warning. Statistics show that it is the leading cause of death worldwide,so one must know how to deal with the emergency situation of a person having a cardiac arrest. The first step is to call 911, then provide CPR right away, as it has been proved that CPR plays a critical part in the survival of the victim. CPR must not be stopped until any medical help arrives. Luckily, the global survival rate of those who received CPR with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest has increased over the past 40 years4. However, it’s all of our job to ensure it continues.

References:

  1. https://cpr.heart.org/en/resources/what-is-cpr

  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2992496/

  3. https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/cpr/performing-cpr/cpr-steps

  4. https://ccforum.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13054-020-2773-2

Written by on Sep 15, 2021

Caitlin Goodwin, DNP, RN, CNM, is a Board Certified Nurse-Midwife, Registered Nurse, and freelance writer. She has over twelve years of experience in nursing practice.

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