Category Archives: Chain of Survival

Why is the Chain of Survival So Important?

Understanding the 5 Links in the Chain of Survival Can Improve Outcomes for SCA Survivors

The Chain of Survival is a metaphorical depiction of a series of critical actions that rescuers (bystanders or paramedics) need to take to improve the likelihood of survival following a cardiac arrest. Why is it so important? Put simply, knowing and understanding the five key “links” in the chain can vastly reduce mortality rates.

A majority of SCA survivors receive immediate help from bystanders. In fact, the time between the onset of arrest symptoms and care determines the likelihood of survival. Whether you’re a trained medical professional or a layperson, understanding the Chain of Survival can make all the difference.

Need more compelling evidence? The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation reports that “If treatment is not provided within 10 minutes, the survival rate is close to zero. Because minutes count, the public plays a crucial role in saving lives threatened by SCA.”

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the 5 links in the adult out-of-hospital Chain of Survival are:

  • Recognition of cardiac arrest and activation of the emergency response system
  • Early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) with an emphasis on chest compressions
  • Rapid defibrillation
  • Basic and advanced emergency medical services
  • Advanced life support and post-cardiac arrest care

Early Recognition and Call for Emergency Assistance

The first link, early recognition of cardiac arrest and the prompt activation of the emergency response protocol, is absolutely essential. When an out-of-hospital cardiac emergency occurs, dial 911 immediately. If the incident should occur on a job site or in a professional setting, the internal alert system should also be triggered, which will improve the odds obtaining of skilled, on-site assistance and equipment as soon as possible.

If someone reports experiencing pain or discomfort in the chest, jaw, neck or back, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, or discomfort in the arm or shoulder, call 911. If an individual is unresponsive and is not breathing, call 911.

If possible, send someone to retrieve the nearest automated external defibrillator (AED).

What’s the Difference Between a Heart Attack and Sudden Cardiac Arrest? Well, in short, a heart attack is caused by a blockage in a vein or artery and SCA is caused by an electrical malfunction in the heart. Cardiac arrest may be caused by a heart attack, SCA, drowning, electrocution, or an obstructed airway. To make matters even more confusing, symptoms of a heart attack may vary and can be different for men than for women.

Don’t hesitate to call 911! It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Prompt CPR with Chest Compressions

The second link dictates that CPR should commence immediately after a cardiac arrest has occurred. If you do not know how to perform CPR, a 911 operator will talk you through the procedure. If you are not trained in CPR, use hands-only CPR by pushing hard and fast on the center of the chest at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute. The compression depth for adults should be at least two inches and the chest should recoil completely between compressions.

Anyone can perform CPR, and if possible it should be done without interruption until skilled emergency medical responders arrive.

Remember, any assistance is better than no assistance at all.

Rapid Defibrillation

As soon as an AED becomes available, the rescuer should place the device next to the victim. Simply turn it on and follow the visual and audio prompts. If a shock is advised, stand clear and make sure no one is in contact with the patient, then administer the shock.

The Zoll AED Plus, for example, will inform the rescuer when they are or aren’t pushing hard or fast enough. It’ll even show you the depth of each compression in real time. The AED Plus offers support to help rescuers successfully complete the Chain of Survival.

Basic and Advanced Care

The fourth link, basic and advanced emergency medical services, refers to the rapid response of highly trained and equipped EMS personnel who can respond to the patient, administer medications, and offer advanced respiration procedures and interventions as needed. This step is often dependent upon the very first link in the chain: early recognition and call for emergency assistance!

Advanced Life Support and Post Cardiac Arrest Care

The fifth and final link, Advanced Life Support and Post Cardiac Arrest Care, is best left to medical professionals. It may involve a multidisciplinary care team composed of cardiologists, physical therapists, and dieticians.

Ready to learn CPR or First Aid? AED.com and Cardio Partners is a trusted nationwide CPR training center. We offer CPR, First Aid, AED, and bloodborne pathogen training courses in all 50 states in traditional classroom settings and in blended learning courses. To learn more about our courses or to schedule a training, call our team at 866-349-4362 or email Cardio Partners at customerservice@cardiopartners.com. We’d love to hear from you!

8 Pool Safety Tips and AED Best Practices for a Safe, Happy, and Healthy Summer!

Why is Pool Safety Important?

As visions of summer vacation dance in the minds of kids, parents, and teachers, it’s time to either start preparing your backyard pool for the flocks of neighborhood children or to renew that expired pool membership!

Before you take that first plunge into the deep end, however, it’s important to take a moment to reflect on the importance of pool safety. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “Drownings are a leading cause of injury death for young children ages 1 to 14, and three children die every day as a result of drowning. In fact, drowning kills more children 1 to 4 than anything else except birth defects.”

In a ten-year period from 2005-2014, there were an average of 3,536 drowning deaths in the United States each year. That’s more than 10 deaths per day!

Here at Cardio Partners and AED.com, we want to make sure that everyone stays safe this glorious summer!

Tip #1: Make Sure Your Poolside Guests Know How to Swim!

May is National Water Safety Month and we think it’s the perfect time to enroll your child in swim lessons. Here’s a statistic we can get behind: the CDC estimates that the risk of drowning is decreased by nearly 90% when young children take swimming lessons. Naturally, grown-ups and teens can benefit from refresher courses, First Aid classes, CPR certification, or lifeguarding classes. Check out your local Parks & Recreation schedule or try a nearby YMCA or Red Cross.

Tip #2: Invest in Personal Flotation Devices and Life Saving Equipment

If you have a pool, you need personal flotation devices and life-saving equipment. We recommend that all non-swimmers wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket or personal flotation device—even in the shallow end! We agree, those little donut-shaped swimmies and dinosaur floaties are super cute and noodles are tons of fun, but they’re not designed to prevent drowning.

Tip #3: Know the Signs of Drowning and Secondary Drowning

Contrary to every splashy Hollywood movie ever released, a person who is drowning probably won’t wave their hands in the air and cry desperately for help. They’ll be too busy trying to breathe to use that precious oxygen for shouting. More often than not, death by drowning is silent, so keep your eyes and your ears open.

Drowning Warning Signs

If your guest has gone silent and still in the water, check in and ask them to respond verbally. If the person is unable to respond, or their expression is blank, get them out of the water immediately!

Symptoms of Dry (or Secondary) Drowning

Dry drowning, or secondary drowning is also a very real danger. The American Osteopathic Association writes: “Dry and secondary drowning can occur after inhaling water through the nose or mouth. In cases of dry drowning, the water triggers a spasm in the airway, causing it to close up and impact breathing. Unlike dry drowning, delayed or secondary drowning occurs when swimmers have taken water into their lungs. The water builds up over time, eventually causing breathing difficulties.”

Tip # 4: Designate a “Lifeguard”

If you’re hosting a pool party, hiring a lifeguard may seem equal parts excessive and over-cautious, but it may be worth considering. First Aid and poolside CPR-certified lifeguards typically earn $10-15 an hour and are worth every penny in peace of mind. For smaller, family affairs, be sure to select a strong swimmer who is also CPR or First Aid certified as your designated watcher.

Tip #5: Invest in a First Aid Kit and an AED

There’s a reason why so many states have passed AED Legislation mandating the placement of AEDs in schools and sporting facilities. For a victim of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), an AED can be a lifesaver. AEDs are designed for use in a variety of adverse conditions.

If you need to use an AED on someone who has been swimming or has recently been pulled from the pool, remove any clothing and dry his or her chest as thoroughly as possible. Be sure there are no puddles around you, the patient, or the AED. Apply the pads and follow the device’s voice prompts. Every AED cautions responders and bystanders to stand clear of the patient.

Tip # 6: Pick a Swim Buddy!

Younger kids should have always have a swim buddy! Make sure your young swimmers can identify their swimming buddy and encourage clear communication. Even with the buddy system in place, never leave children unattended in the pool.

Tip # 7: Safety First!

You should check your local ordinances to make sure that your pool enclosure is in compliance with local regulations. Always securely lock your pool area when you’re not using it. And finally, make sure that you have access to a phone (preferably a water-resistant one) at all times in the case of an emergency.

Tip #8: Jump On In! (Feet-first, of Course!)

Diving headfirst into swimming pool can result in serious injury or death. Teach children how to jump into a pool feet-first and away from the pool’s concrete edge. Cannonballs are encouraged!

Get yourself pool-ready and water-safe. Enroll in a First Aid and AED Certification course today. Call our team at 866-349-4362 or visit AED.com or CardioPartners.com for more information.

The Importance of CPR and AEDs: An SCA Survivor’s Story

Cardiac Arrest Survivor Rob Seymour Advocates for CPR Training and Public Access to AEDs

On Sunday, May 3, 2015, Philadelphians were enjoying one of those postcard-worthy spring days that city-dwellers cherish. The skies were blue, the sun was shining, the air was clear, and the temperature was just right. Runners from all over the country who had gathered in the City of Brotherly Love couldn’t have asked for a better day for the annual Blue Cross Broad Street Run.

Atlanta native Rob Seymour, then 26, and his wife Michelle were among the nearly 40,000 athletes jogging their way to the finish line at Philly’s famed Naval Yard. The popular run down the city’s main north-south thoroughfare is the largest 10-mile race in the nation and a favorite among runners.

A lifelong athlete with a passion for baseball, basketball, and running, Rob had achieved a personal record time during the 2014 race and was focusing on enjoying his fifth Broad Street Run with his wife. They were both looking forward to the celebratory tailgate with friends and family at the end of the course.

“It was a leisurely run. That year the goal was to have Michelle finish the race, so it was a different experience. It was a lot of fun. We were enjoying ourselves through the whole race,” said Rob in a recent interview.

Rob and Michelle never made it to that tailgate, however.

Just moments after Rob and his wife triumphantly crossed the finish line, he began to feel dizzy. At first, he thought it was a low blood pressure issue but soon realized that it was something far more serious.

“My vision just kept closing and things got blurrier and blurrier. I realized that it wasn’t going to stop. I called out to my wife hoping to catch myself on her. She turned around just in time to watch me drop to my knees and fall face first onto the ground,” remembers Rob.

Soon after he hit the pavement, he began seizing. Fortunately, a nearby team of paramedics saved his life. One began performing CPR while the other grabbed a portable automatic external defibrillator (AED). The device quickly recognized that his heart had gone into ventricular fibrillation (V-fib) and applied one shock. After the life-saving shock, Rob’s heart resumed its normal rhythm.

The next thing he remembers he was lying on his back, admiring the clear blue sky as the gurney he was on bumped along to the ambulance. Rob, who worked in the health insurance industry at the time, knew full well the costs associated with the ambulance ride and the treatment they were discussing. Assuming he was merely dehydrated, he found himself requesting a Gatorade and questioning the need for an IV and challenging the EMTs on whether or not he really needed to go to the hospital.

Then the paramedic told him that his heart had stopped and that he’d gone into sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

“My wife, who was in the front of the ambulance turned around and told me to just let them do their job,” recalls Rob.

During the five days that Rob spent at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, physicians ran a full battery of cardiac tests in an attempt to determine what had happened.

“They looked at everything they could look at structurally and electrophysiologically, but ultimately they couldn’t tell me what caused the situation,” remembers Rob.

He opted to have a subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator (S-ICD) implanted to constantly monitor his heart rate. Fortunately, he hasn’t had any episodes since that day in May and he has the peace of mind of knowing that the S-ICD will shock his heart back into a normal rhythm if necessary.

“If such a thing had to happen, I was certainly in the right place at the right time. I could have been out on my own on a weekend run like I had been hundreds of times. I was so fortunate that the medics and the AED were there,” says Rob.

Since Rob’s SCA, not only does he notice the location of AEDs in airports and in public buildings, but both he and his wife enrolled in a CPR class. Today, he’s an advocate for learning  CPR.

“We felt we needed to be prepared to do that [perform CPR] for someone else,” notes Rob. “We needed to know that we could keep someone alive until help arrives. It wasn’t all that difficult, but it gave us the confidence to know that we could help someone.”

Cardio Partners Account Specialist Sean Stargel, who attended elementary and high school with Rob, remembers him as an outgoing and active athlete who excelled at basketball and baseball.

“Honestly, it’s scary to hear about an AED being used on someone I’ve known as long as I’ve known Rob. I’m very grateful that there was AED present to provide the life-saving therapy that he needed,” says Sean. “We’re in this for a reason and that reason is to make sure that people are informed about the risks of SCA. We provide these devices so that people have a solution within reach.”

 AED.com is a trusted nationwide CPR training center. To learn more about our courses or to schedule a training, call our team at 866-349-4362 or email Cardio Partners at customerservice@cardiopartners.com.

Know the difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest

Though heart attack and cardiac arrest may sound similar, these medical emergencies could not be more different. A person suffering from a heart attack has a blocked artery preventing the blood flow to the heart, while a cardiac arrest is a result of an electrical disturbance in heart. This malfunction causes an irregular heartbeat, which prevents blood from pumping to the brain, lungs and other organs.

Recognize the symptoms

The symptoms of a cardiac arrest and heart attack are drastically different. In moments, a person can go into cardiac arrest. Usually, a victim will become unresponsive and stop breathing unexpectedly or start gasping for air. Whereas for a heart attack, symptoms can be immediate, but also have the potential to start out slowly, lasting for hours, days or even weeks prior to a heart attack. Major symptoms include shortness of breath, cold sweats, nausea, and vomiting. It could also cause a strong discomfort in the chest as well as other parts of the upper body. Women may experience different symptoms than men such as back or jaw pain. 

How to respond to both 

Call 9-1-1. If a person believes he or she is having a heart attack or cardiac arrest, do not hesitate to call 9-1-1. Regardless of whether or not you know the type of emergency, it’s important to get help on the way as soon as possible. The sooner emergency medical services arrive, the faster they can start treatment. Remember, every second counts! For some victims, a cardiac arrest or heart attack can be reversible if treated in time.

Take action. Is it a cardiac arrest? Start preforming CPR right away. Should an automated external defibrillator (AED) be available, quickly use it to help the victim. If possible, have a second person call the emergency number while responding to the person in need of treatment.

 

 

What you need to know about out-of-hospital cardiac arrests

More than 1,000 people will suffer a non-traumatic out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) every day, says a 2014 report by the American Heart Association. Among those who experience OHCA, the overall survival rate is approximately 10 percent. For younger victims, the survival rate decreases to about 5 percent.

For some, odds can increase with automated external defibrillation. According to the report, 23 percent of EMS-treated OHCA cases have initial rhythm of ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia. This means treatment with an AED could improve chances of survival.

Learn more about OHCAs below:

Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in adults

  • Approximately 424,000 people experience a non-traumatic OHCA every year
  • Of those victims, 60 percent are treated by EMS
  • Having a family history of cardiac arrest or prior heart disease is a major risk factor for cardiac arrest
  • There’s a higher percentage (10.2 percent) of survival among those who received chest compressions alone rather than chest compressions and rescue breathing (8.5 percent)

Out of hospital cardiac arrest in youth

  • Nearly 9,500 children under the age of 18 suffer a non-traumatic OHCA
  • Following an EMS-treated non-traumatic OHCA, only about an estimated 5.4 percent of youth survive to hospital discharge
  • Almost 7,000 fatalities occur in children each year due to OHCA

 

DXE Medical is on a Mission… to Save More Lives

Building pic with logo

 

I would like to take a few moments to discuss the tremendous mission the team at DXE Medical has joined with our partners and Customers over the past 18 years. If anyone were to ask “Why does it matter?” our team is ready to say,

Continue reading DXE Medical is on a Mission… to Save More Lives

Immediately performing CPR is crucial. This is why.

Why CPR is Crucial Blog

You watch CPR being performed on TV shows, we hear about a police officer saving an individual with CPR on the news and now many U.S. states are requiring CPR to be taught to high school students.

While many people say they have been trained in CPR at some point in their life, most do not understand what CPR is actually doing and just how important performing high-quality chest compressions and providing rescue breaths really is.

Continue reading Immediately performing CPR is crucial. This is why.