What to do in an Emergency

(NC) Did you know that what floor you live on may determine how likely you are to survive a cardiac arrest? A new study published in the Canadian Medical Association shows the higher up you live in a building, the lower your chances of survival, as paramedics and first responders can take longer to reach you.

But recognizing sudden cardiac arrest and knowing what to do can literally mean the difference between life and death. Here are four steps to keep in mind.

Know the signs. Signs of cardiac arrest include sudden collapse, sudden unresponsiveness to touch or sound, and abnormal or no breathing.

Don't wait. Cardiac arrest is a medical emergency as death occurs within minutes without treatment. For every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation, chances of survival decrease by up to 10 per cent. Victims are never better off waiting for professional help to arrive.

React quickly. If you witness sudden cardiac arrest, the Heart and Stroke Foundation recommends that you call 911 and yell for an Automated External Defibrillator — a device that checks a person's heart and delivers an electric shock if it has stopped beating normally.

Perform CPR. Don't wait for emergency responders to arrive — perform CPR by pushing hard and fast in the centre of the chest; think of the beat of “Stayin' Alive.” Keep pushing until emergency medical help arrives. CPR guidelines have recently been updated to remove the need for mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Use an AED. For the best chance of survival from the most common cause of sudden cardiac arrest, a shock from a AED should be delivered within the first few minutes of collapse after CPR. An AED's intelligent sensors assess and automatically deliver the right therapy at the right time to any cardiac arrest victim — man, woman or child.

Defibrillators are widely available in public spaces and can also be purchased for the home. Designed to let you deliver a shock only if it determines one is needed, the Philips HeartStart AED has a simple step-by-step process with clear, adaptive voice instructions to help even the most inexperienced responders.

“Those moments between someone's heart stopping and when the emergency responders get to the scene are crucial. For every additional person equipped with knowledge and confidence to intervene with an AED, there is potential for another life saved,” said Dr. Joe Frassica, chief medical and innovation officer, Philips Research North America.


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