A cardiac arrest is when a person’s heart stops pumping blood round their body and they stop breathing normally.
A person who is having a heart attack may develop a dangerously fast heart rhythm which can cause a cardiac arrest and be fatal.
A cardiac arrest is sudden and can happen without any warning signals.
The most common cause of a cardiac arrest is a life threatening abnormal heart rhythm called ventricular fibrillation (VF).
Ventricular fibrillation happens when the electrical activity of your heart becomes so chaotic that the heart stops pumping and quivers or 'fibrillates' instead. There are various causes of VF. These can be problems with your heart, or other causes.
It is possible to survive and recover from a cardiac arrest, if you get the right treatment quickly.
VF can sometimes be corrected by giving an electric shock through the chest wall, by using a device called a defibrillator.
This can be done in the ambulance, or at hospital, or it can be done by a member of the public at the scene of a cardiac arrest if there is a community defibrillator nearby.
Immediate CPR can be used to keep oxygen circulating around the body until a defibrillator can be used and/or until the ambulance arrives.
What's the difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest?
Although a heart attack can lead to a cardiac arrest, they are not the same thing.
A heart attack is a sudden interruption to the blood supply to part of the heart muscle. It is likely to cause chest pain and permanent damage to the heart. The heart is still sending blood around the body and the person remains conscious and is still breathing.
A cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood around the body. Someone who is having a cardiac arrest will suddenly lose consciousness and will stop breathing or stop breathing normally. Unless immediately treated by CPR this always leads to death within minutes.
A person having a heart attackis at high risk of experiencing a cardiac arrest.
Both a heart attack and a cardiac arrest are life-threatening medical emergencies and require immediate medical help.
Whether you think you are having a heart attack or if you see someone collapse and suspect a cardiac arrest, call 112 immediately.
If you are interested to train in the use of a defibrillator, Kalliopi First Aid Training conduct AED / CPR Courses all over Cyprus.
If you are interested to purchase a defibrillator, Kalliopi First Aid Training is the official distributor of the iPAD AED.