October is Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month. Although many people use the terms “heart attack” and “cardiac arrest” interchangeably, they are different occurrences.
Differences between a Heart Attack and Sudden Cardiac Arrest
If an artery gets blocked, it can prevent blood containing oxygen from reaching a part of the heart, which can cause a heart attack. A delay in treatment can lead to serious damage. If the artery is not unblocked quickly, the part of the heart that ordinarily receives blood from that artery can begin to die.
Sudden cardiac arrest can occur if an electrical malfunction in the heart produces an arrhythmia, or an irregular heartbeat. If the heart’s pumping action gets disrupted, that can prevent the brain, lungs, and other vital organs from receiving blood. A person suffering SCA may lose consciousness, may have no pulse within seconds, and may die within minutes if treatment does not begin quickly.
Although SCA can seem to occur without warning, there may actually be signs of an impending cardiac event. A person may experience a racing heartbeat, heart palpitations, dizziness, lightheadedness, and repeated fainting without a clear cause. Exercise may lead to dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, seizures, chest pain, or excessive shortness of breath. A patient with a family history of heart problems may have an increased risk for SCA.
Even though the two conditions are different, they can be connected. A past heart attack can increase a patient’s risk for sudden cardiac arrest.
How Can Sudden Cardiac Arrest Be Treated?
An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a medical device that can analyze a patient’s heart rhythm. If necessary, it can deliver an electrical shock to restore an effective heart rhythm. In many cases, SCA can be reversed if the patient receives treatment within a few minutes. A patient who does not receive defibrillation within four to six minutes is likely to die.
If a person experiences sudden cardiac arrest, someone should call 911 and use an AED, if one is available. If not, someone can perform CPR until an ambulance arrives.
Appropriate signage in the workplace will indicate where your automated external defibrillator is located and is needed to be in compliance with OSHA safety regulations.
Order an AED for Your Business
AEDs are common in schools, offices, and other public buildings because they are easy to use. A person with little or no medical training can use an AED to treat someone suffering from sudden cardiac arrest before first responders arrive. Prompt treatment can increase the odds of survival and recovery. 1st Aid Supplies sells AEDs that you can have on hand at your business so your employees and others can respond to sudden cardiac arrest, if necessary.