A person in sudden cardiac arrest cannot help themselves. Only bystanders can save a life by following these three steps.
1: Call 9-1-1
Cardiac arrest is a medical emergency causing death if not treated immediately. If someone has collapsed and is unresponsive, you can help save a life by calling 9-1-1, doing CPR and using an AED if one is available.
Signs of cardiac arrest include:
2: Do CPR
CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) pumps blood through a person's body to help keep the person alive long enough for someone to get an AED or for emergency services to arrive.
When the heart stops beating during cardiac arrest, it no longer pumps blood to the body. The brain and organs can be seriously damaged without oxygen and nutrients from blood and the person will die within minutes if not treated immediately.
CPR cannot restart a heart, but when used in combination with an AED, a person's odds of surviving a cardiac arrest increase significantly.
3: Use an AED
An AED is a portable, safe device anyone can use to restart the heart. It delivers an electric shock that starts a heart beating normally again.
For some people, using an AED can seem intimidating because they don’t know how to use one and are afraid of doing more harm to the victim. In fact, AEDs can’t do harm, they can only help. Nearly all cardiac arrest victims will die without an electric shock to restart their heart!
AEDs provide clear and simple instructions to the person responding to the cardiac arrest. You don’t need training to use an AED. When the AED pads are placed on the victim’s body, the AED reads the heart rhythm and only delivers a shock if needed.
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