Though many think it’s true, a heart attack and cardiac arrest are not the same thing. A heart attack is when blood flow is blocked to the heart. The symptoms often start very slowly and can last for days or weeks before the heart attack actually occurs. And the heart doesn’t stop beating.
Cardiac arrest, on the other hand, is much more deadly. This is when the heart suddenly stops beating, preventing the heart from pumping blood to the brain, lungs and other organs. With cardiac arrest, death occurs within minutes if the victim doesn’t receive help.
We recently had a visit from the American Heart Association (something I recommend everyone doing) at work. They came to train us on something called “Hands-Only CPR“. This is CPR specifically for victims of cardiac arrest. Statistics show that 350,000 cardiac arrests occur out of the hospital every year, and 90% of the victims typically die.
Survival of a cardiac episode depends on receiving immediate CPR from someone nearby. Waiting until medical professionals can arrive is usually too late. But most people don’t know what to do in the case of a cardiac arrest. And since 70% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen at home with a loved one, this is a scary statistic.
But it’s easy to learn how to help in such a situation. Hands-Only CPR involves no breathing into the victims mouth. Since cardiac arrest is an electrical problem in the heart (unlike a heart attack), getting the blood pumping is the important part. This quick video shows the two important steps to giving Hands-Only CPR.
The American Heart Association suggests pressing your hands down on the center of the victim’s chest. The proper speed between pumps is 100-120 beats per minute. So, believe it or not, those songs that get stuck in your head all day can actually be life-saving. Stayin’ Alive is the one we all think about but, at 103 beats per minute, that’s on the slowest end of the spectrum.
We made a list of other songs you could be moving to, if ever you need to help a victim of cardiac arrest. – Wendy Rush