Many people tend to think that a Heart Attack is the same thing as a Sudden Cardiac Arrest. This statement couldn't be less true. The two are completely different! So in honor of Nation CPR and AED Awareness Week, let's set the record straight:
- A "plumbing" issue or blockage in the heart
- Heart Disease is responsible for over 350,000 deaths each year in the U.S.
- Victim is most likely conscious and alert
- Heart is still pumping blood (even if it is working harder than usual)
- Physical symptoms are present: Men - Tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, pain in the left arm or rotates between left and right arms, Women - Usually more back, neck, and jaw pain, and feeling of "indigestion"
What to do if Someone is Having Symptoms of a Heart Attack:
- Call 9-1-1
- Have someone get the AED (do not use the AED unless victim collapses and stops breathing) and the First Aid Kit
- Have the victim sit down and keep calm
- Ask if the victim has any heart meds
- If no heart meds, ask the victim if they are allergic to aspirin or have had any recent bleeding or a stroke
- Offer 1 regular dose of aspirin or 2 baby aspirins
- Monitor the victim and try to keep calm while waiting for EMS
Sudden Cardiac Arrest
- An "electrical" issue with the actual heart rhythm
- Kills 1 person every 90 seconds in the U.S.
- Does not play favorites to age or gender
- Little to no symptoms prior to collapses
- Happens Suddenly - Victim collapses within a matter of seconds
- Upon collapse, victim is not breathing and not responding - Lifeless
- Heart stops pumping blood to brain and other organs
- Brain damage and brain death can occur within minutes if nothing is done prior to EMS arrival
What to do if Someone Suddenly Collapses
- Call 9-1-1
- Have someone get the AED and the First Aid Kit
- While waiting for the AED, have someone start CPR
- Start CPR by pushing hard and fast on the center of the chest
- Keep performing chest compressions until AED is ready for use
- Turn the AED "On" and listen to the prompts
- AEDs are easy to use - just follow the prompts!
- After a shock is delivered, the AED will tell you when to start back into the CPR
- Keep following the prompts of the AED and performing CPR until EMS arrives
Take the initiative and be prepared to save a life because Sudden Cardiac Arrest can happen anywhere and at any time.
For First Aid and CPR classes in the Pittsburgh area, click here.