What is cardiac arrest?

Cardiac Arrest
Cardiac arrest (CA) is a condition in which the heartbeat stops abruptly and unexpectedly. When this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain, the heart and the rest of the body, and the person collapses. The person will die unless they receive help immediately. A quick combination of CPR and defibrillation can save a life and optimise the person’s chances of returning to a normal life.

How to treat cardiac arrest – Chain of survival
There are six critical steps that can improve the chances for survival from cardiac arrest. These steps are called the "chain of survival".

  1. Early recognition – that a cardiac arrest has occurred – awareness and understanding the signs.
  2. Access to emergency services – dial 111.
  3. Early access to CPR – be ready to act.
  4. Early access to defibrillation – knowing the location and use of nearest AED.
  5. Advanced care – Ambulance services.
  6. Post Resuscitation treatment – in the hospital.

In addition to the chain of survival there are two other very important actions for improving survival from cardiac arrest.

  • Prevention – many cardiac arrests are preventable. The type of approach and lifestyle changes that you could implement to prevent a cardiac arrest will be based on the individual’s level of risk.
  • Having a sustainability plan – having an active plan to maintain and increase the numbers of people in the community trained and willing to act and to ensure AEDs are maintained.

CPR is a life saving skill when someone has stopped breathing or their heart has stopped. Although medical conditions, such as a severe heart attack, may lead to the heart or breathing stopping, a range of other things also cause this: drowning, electric shock, poisoning, overdose, stroke, serious injury.

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