Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is a sudden, unexpected death caused by loss of heart function (sudden cardiac arrest). Heart attack and stroke are caused by interruptions to the normal flow of blood to the heart or brain—2 organs that are essential to life. When it comes to life-threatening conditions like heart attack or stroke, every minute counts. Therefore, it is vital for people in this emergency situation to receive medical treatment, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), within the first few minutes of the event.
When a person's heart stops, blood stops circulating throughout the body. If a person stops breathing, the blood can't get oxygen. By administering a combination of manual chest compressions and artificial, or "mouth-to-mouth," respiration, the rescuer can breathe for the victim and help circulate some of the blood throughout his or her body.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation(CPR) does not restart a heart that has stopped, but it can keep a victim alive until more aggressive treatment (defibrillation) can be administered.
Steps to take when performing CPR: If a person has collapsed, determine if the person is unconscious. Gently prod the victim and shout, “Are you okay?” If there is no response, shout for help. Call 911 or your local EMERGENCY number
- If the person is not lying flat on his or her back, roll him or her over, moving the entire body at one time. Clear the airway and loosen clothing at the neck, chest and waist. Check for breathing and pulse; if absent, and if trained to do so, begin (CPR), until the ambulance arrives.
- Open the person’s airway. Lift up the chin gently with one hand while pushing down on the forehead with the other to tilt the head back. (Do not try to open the airway using a jaw thrust for injured victims. Be sure to employ this head tilt-chin lift for all victims, even if the person is injured.)
- If the person may have suffered a NECK INJURY, in a diving or AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT, for example, open the airway using the chin-lift without tilting the head back. If the airway remains blocked, tilt the head slowly and gently until the airway is open.
- Once the airway is open, check to see if the person is breathing.
- Take five to 10 seconds (no MORE than 10 seconds) to verify normal breathing in an unconscious adult, or for the existence or absence of breathing in an infant or child who is not responding.
If opening the airway does not cause the person to begin to breathe, it is advised that you begin providing rescue breathing (or, minimally, begin providing chest compressions).
Breathing (Rescue Breathing)
- Pinch the person’s nose shut using your thumb and forefinger. Keep the heel of your hand on the person’s forehead to maintain the head tilt. Your other hand should remain under the person’s chin, lifting up.
- Inhale normally (not deeply) before giving a rescue breath to a victim.
- Immediately give two full breaths while maintaining an air-tight seal with your mouth on the person’s mouth. Each breath should be one second in duration and should make the victim’s chest rise.(If the chest does not rise after the first breath is delivered, perform the head tilt-chin lift a second time before administering the second breath.) Avoid giving too many breaths or breaths that are too large or forceful.
Only skilled MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS can determine if someone is having a heart attack. Your responsibility is to recognize the warning signs and act quickly.
You might know the most commonSYMPTOMS OF HEART attack: sustained, crushing chest pain and difficulty breathing: A heart attack might also cause:
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Pain, stiffness, or numbness in the neck, back, or one or both arms or shoulders
- Shortness of breath
- Cold sweat, nausea, dizziness
- a racing heart,
- pain down the left arm,
- jaw stiffness, or
- shoulder pain
If you think you or someone else might be having a heart attack, get medical help right away.Quick contact with emergency care is essential. Call 911 (in most communities) or your local emergency number immediately Acting fast could save your life or someone else’s.