Cardiac Emergencies

One thing that we all take for granted, is our heart’s health and ability to keep pumping oxygen rich blood through our system – keeping us alive. Unfortunately, sometimes our heart can stop beating (asystole) or start to quiver and not pump in a rhythmic fashion (fibrillation& tachycardia). When these events occur – or when not enough oxygen is getting to the brain – we’ve got a cardiac emergency.

Normally, a “Cardiac Emergency” means that you may have to perform CPR, which stands for Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation. The main goal of CPR is to continue the flow of oxygenated blood to the brain and rest of the body. The goal is not to restart the heart and bring the patient back to life. The chance that a person will survive a cardiac emergency after only being administered CPR is only roughly 2% (JEMS)!  However, that is better than none…

Often times – especially in public places such as malls, schools, etc. – an AED, or Automated External Defibrillator, is accessible. An AED can save a person’s life. The way an AED works is it sends an electrical shock through the heart in order to restart the heart pumping. An AED will monitor the patient’s heart rate and advise if an electrical shock is needed or not. It’s completely self-automated! The use of an AED supercedes CPR at all times. We’ll discuss this a bit more in depth below. If an AED is used on a patient, the chances that the patient will survive is drastically increased to about %95 – which is a tremendous leap from the 2% of doing only CPR!

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