Sudden Cardiac Arrest and CPR

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4 min 13 sec
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How to Respond to Sudden Cardiac Arrest with CPR

Sudden cardiac arrest causes around 30,000 deaths in the UK each year. When the heart stops, it often goes into ventricular fibrillation (VF), causing the heart to quiver without pumping blood. Immediate CPR is essential for increasing the chances of survival.

1. Identify Cardiac Arrest and Gain Consent

Introduce yourself, ask for permission to help, and tap their collarbone to check for a response.

2. Check for Breathing

Perform the head-tilt-chin-lift technique, and listen for breathing for 10 seconds.

3. Call Emergency Services

Send someone to call emergency services or call them yourself if alone, using speakerphone to continue CPR.

4. Inquire About an AED

Ask bystanders if there is an AED nearby. AEDs can significantly increase a patient's chance of survival.

5. Start CPR

Perform chest compressions and rescue breaths in a 30:2 ratio, swapping with a second rescuer every two minutes if possible.

Performing Chest Compressions

  1. Place the heel of your hand in the centre of the chest.
  2. Interlock your hands together.
  3. Push down 5 to 6 centimetres at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute.
  4. Fully release to allow blood to return to the heart.

Delivering Rescue Breaths

  1. Open the airway with one hand on the forehead and the other under the chin.
  2. Squeeze the nose closed.
  3. Deliver two breaths, each lasting around one second, until the chest rises.

Continue CPR until relieved by emergency medical services. CPR is vital for maintaining the patient's condition until professionals can attempt revival.