Heart Attack? Or Cardiac Arrest?

Posted by Leah on 4/6/2018 to Emergency Care

In the U.S. cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death among adults over the age of 40. According to The American Heart Association, each year more than 350,000 individuals fall victim to cardiac arrest. In the event when there is a cardiac arrest situation the moment is very tense, and every second counts. Time and effort could make the difference of saving one’s life. When performing CPR, this could become highly exhausting. Whether you are a good Samaritan, being at the right place at the right time, or even if you are a professional EMT, Respiratory Therapist, or Nurse, you can still find yourself getting fatigued whilst performing compressions and giving rescue breaths.

First, let’s explain what cardiac arrest is. Cardiac Arrest is a sudden, sometimes temporary, interruption of the heart. In other words, it is an “abrupt loss of the heart function in a person who may or may not have a diagnosed heart disease.” Did you know that there is a difference between cardiac arrest and a heart attack? Too often people make the mistake of calling cardiac arrest a heart attack, and vice versa. However, they are just misinformed. While a heart attack can lead to cardiac arrest and sudden death, it is most definitely not the same. A heart attack is caused when the blood flow to the heart becomes blocked/clogged, stopping the blood flow to the heart. Also known as myocardial infarction, which refers to the death of heart (muscle) tissue. The main difference is that in a heart attack is that they are gradual, and the heart rate doesn’t stop. Unlike a heart attack, cardiac arrest happens suddenly and without warning. Cardiac arrest is when the hearts’ electrical system malfunctions, causing an abnormal or irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmia). This disables the heart’s pumping action resulting in a loss of blood flow to the bran, lungs, and other vital organs. Time is of the essence, resulting in death, if the patient doesn’t seek treatment immediately.

Now that we have discussed the difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest, it is very crucial to have the knowledge on how to perform these techniques properly. In the event of cardiac arrest, you want to keep an eye on the patient/victim and be aware of the signs and symptoms associated with cardiac arrest. If you are a bystander, and encounter someone suffering from cardiac arrest, first:

  • Check their mental status by asking if they’re okay
  • If they’re not responsive, or unconscious, call out for help and immediately start performing CPR or just chest compressions, for two minutes prior to calling call out for help.
  • Check to see if the patient is ventilating. If they’re not breathing normally, initiate CPR by pushing (1.5 – 2 inches) down hard and fast on the patients’ chest just below the ribs, at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute.
  • Remember time is of the essence
  • If you are CPR certified, you can begin to maintain a patent airway, perform the ‘head-tilt-chin-lift, and begin giving two rescue breaths, every 30 compressions, allowing chest rise between.
  • If you’re not CPR certified, or haven’t been trained in this field, you can stick to chest compressions until a portable AED Defibrillator arrives or the emergency paramedics.

A chest compression rate of 100-120, can get exhausting quick. Leading to compressions not reaching the right depth, and speed, resulting in a lack of blood flow, and the patient pulse rate stops. To steer from that problem, try to always have another rescuer to help with the compressions and breaths. Then there’s always the question, what if there’s no one around to help? Hence, The Lucas 2 Chest Compression System. This device is a portable easy-to-use, that delivers automated, consistent chest compressions to improve blood flow in patients with cardiac arrest. Lucas performs at rate of 100 compressions per minute with a depth of 1.5 to 2 inches. It is also equipped with a suction cup to allow chest rise after each compression, providing a 50% duty cycle to equal compressions and relaxation time for the chest wall.

This prodigious device does more than just provide consistent, high quality CPR. The pressure that this device delivers helps to transmit the blood flow inside the heart and the suction cup on the device helps to create the negative pressure which draws blood back into the heart creating a preload. Let me explain how to use the Lucas 2 device. The Lucas 2 device consists of an upper part and a back plate. The back plate is placed underneath the victim to form a support for the external chest compressions. The upper part contains a pneumatically driven piston rod, which acts on the victim’s chest via pressure pad, and the pad is surrounded by a suction cup. Fasten the upper part to the back plate prior to starting compressions. Lucas is powered by compressed air from a wall outlet or a cylinder. Lucas requires no electricity supply and has no conducting parts on the outside, except the hose attachment, the claw bar and the upper attachment of the bellows. There is a strap to help stabilize the patient during operation. Adjust the suctions cup immediately above the end of the sternum then turn on the device.

This device will help free your hands and also you will be able to use an AED machine while performing CPR compressions. So, again this device could help save someone’s life. Take a look at our web site for this item or call us if you have any questions about this device. Hope to hear from you soon.


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