Every year approximately 350,000 Americans collapse in their homes,workplace or on the street as a result of cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest is when the heartstops beating and can no longer circulate blood to the brain or through the body. Blood isimportant because of its ability to transport oxygen and nutrients to the brain and allthe cells in the body.
A person in cardiac arrest is unconscious, not breathing, and has nopulse. THE LACK OF A PULSE IS THE MAIN SIGN OF CARDIAC ARREST. A pulse is the beat felt inthe arteries near the skin’s surface with each contraction of the heart. The absenceof a pulse means there is no blood going to the brain or being circulated through thebody. To check for a pulse in an adult or child, feel at the front of the neck for theAdam’s apple and slide your fingers into the groove on one side of the neck. If theheart is beating, you will feel the beat of the blood in one of the big blood vessels thatrun along both sides of the neck. In cardiac arrest you will not be able to find or feel apulse.
The cells of the brain and other organs may not die immediately andcan live for a short time until the oxygen in the blood is used up. A person in cardiacarrest needs CPR at once. CPR stands for Cardio-Pulmonary-Resuscitation and is acombination of chest compressions and rescue breathing. CPR provides a continued supply ofoxygen through rescue breathing and simulates a heartbeat through chest compressions. Thetechniques of CPR are taught by organizations such as the American Red Cross and AmericanHeart Association.
CPR should be started immediately when a person no longer has apulse. CPR, however, only provides about one-third the normal blood flow to the brain andis not enough to help someone survive cardiac arrest. Advanced medical care withspecialized equipment and medication is needed. This specialized care is provided by TampaFirefighters and Paramedics. The emergency 911 number should be called so that Tampa FireRescue can respond and continue vital patient care to the hospital.
Link to the American Heart Association for more information: