Cardiac Arrest And Heart Attack: Are They The Same Condition

Cardiac Arrest And Heart Attack

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No. Clinically speaking, Cardiac Arrest and Heart Attack are two different conditions. A heart attack is a “circulation” problem caused when blood flow to the heart is prevented by a blockage in an artery. Cardiac arrest should be considered an “electrical signal malfunction” where the heart suddenly stops beating unexpectedly.

What Does Resuscitation Mean?

Resuscitation means the act of bringing a living entity back from apparent death or unconsciousness. When combined in the ratio of 2:30, rescue breaths and chest compressions set to a 100-120 bpm rhythm is the act of providing CPR.

What Is CPR For Cardiac Arrest?

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, commonly abbreviated to the acronym CPR, is the lifesaving technique crucial in trying to restart a heart that has stopped beating after the person has suffered a cardiac arrest or the person has stopped breathing. It is important to note that a First Aid responder cannot differentiate between a cardiac arrest and a heart attack, so CPR should always be provided.

Note: A person who suffered a heart attack may never be revived. The blockage that caused the heart to stop beating in the first place prevents CPR measures from working. The only way to tell which of the two conditions a person suffered is via an autopsy upon their death or by MRI imaging and ECG testing in a hospital.

Two times CPR is routinely used by a First Aid responder are for heart attack or drowning. CPR is used any time someone’s breathing, heartbeat, or both, has stopped.

What Is The Treatment For Cardiac Arrest?

CPR is the predominantly applied emergency procedure given to anyone who has had a sudden cardiac arrest. Defibrillation using an automated external defibrillator (AED) is another option for trying to get a heart that suddenly stopped pumping blood working again by using electric shocks to restart the heart. Think of an AED as a battery pack and your heart as an empty battery. The AED delivers electric shocks where required to jump-start your heart again.

What Are Cardiac Arrest Chest Compressions?

Chest compressions describe the act of pushing down on the chest, deep enough that you allow the heart valves to open and push blood through the heart in a one-way direction. The blood is pushed out of the heart and towards the brain when you push down on the chest. When you release, the valve closes and locks the blood in place until you push down again.

Think of the blood moving through the arteries as a little car. The faster you compress and release, the faster the car gets around the body and back to the heart for fresh oxygen. It takes one blood cell 20 seconds in a healthy body to do one full lap of the circulatory system. Compressions act as an external heartbeat for the person you are giving CPR. If you stop externally beating their heart for them, the blood cannot move through the body to keep the brain alive. When the brain dies, all other vital organs shut down, and the person dies.

When Can Cardiac Resuscitation Can Be Stopped?

You can officially stop CPR after 20 minutes if no viable cardiac rhythm is re-established.

If a solo person is giving CPR without relief, then as long as the person can physically provide CPR without endangering their own life if they are not fit enough to last twenty minutes. Few people could reasonably provide solo CPR for twenty continuous minutes at the ideal 100-120 beats per minute ratio.

 A two (or more) person team is expected to put in a minimum of twenty minutes of CPR or more until an ambulance arrives where possible or all parties are physically exhausted. Take it in turns to move through the positions of giving mouth-to-mouth and providing chest compressions in the 30:2 ratio. Two (2) puffs of air and thirty (30) chest compressions, then repeat the cycle continuously.

Chest compressions are the highest priority when giving CPR. If you cannot provide rescue breathing, chest compressions alone may still be lifesaving in the short term but will be entirely redundant in purpose and nature without oxygen to keep the brain alive after five minutes.

What Is The Duty Of Care To Give CPR After Cardiac Arrest?

The question often asked is whether laypersons, bystanders, first responders, and healthcare personnel have a duty to provide First Aid to any person in need of emergency care. Legislation exists between jurisdictions to protect Good Samaritans and Volunteers when assisting a person in need of emergency care. Medical practitioners are subject to all legal, ethical, and professional principles.

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