Category Archives: SCA

Gasping Can Indicate Survival After Cardiac Arrest

According to the AHA, more than 350,000 people experience a non-traumatic out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) every year, averaging to more than 1,000 victims each day*. Among those statistics, only about 10 percent of OHCA victims survive. To combat these odds, however, a quick response with an automatic external defibrillator (AED) and CPR can improve the survival rate of an individual. In addition to the efforts of a rescuer, a recent study suggests gasping for air before or during CPR in an OHCA victim can actually be an indicator of survival with “favorable” brain function.

Gasping, or agonal respiration, is an individual’s natural reflex to allow for oxygen and circulation during CPR. This is said to be a marker for brainstem activity.

Remember, if someone is unresponsive and not breathing OR not breathing normally, start CPR.

According to researcher Guillaume Debaty, MD, this is the first report of its kind to stress the connection of gasping as a predictive factor to long-term survival and favorable brain function. Of those survivors, 37 percent had irregular respiration during CPR. This indicator is seen as a positive, which further solidifies the need for chest compressions during an OHCA on a gasping victim.

Following this study, researchers are recommending an emphasis be placed on identifying abnormal pattern breathing as an early sign of cardiac arrest. One of the authors of the report said it is a person’s natural response “deserving attention.” With this recent information, there is new stress on incorporating the recognition of gasping into CPR training. Researchers highlight the importance of rescuers correctly associating gasping as an indicator of cardiac arrest, rather than normal breathing.

Another goal for attributing gasping to cardiac arrest and survival rates is to help improve the lack of reporting and tracking around the phenomena in order to inform future research.

Are you thinking about CPR training? We hope so. Cardio Partners is a nationwide training center offering traditional classroom courses through the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association. Schedule CPR training by emailing customerservice@cardiopartners.com or by learning more here.

 Source: http://www.cpr.heart.org/AHAECC/CPRAndECC/General/UCM_477263_Cardiac-Arrest-Statistics.jsp

October is Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month

October is Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month, a time to recognize the severity of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) and what can be done to help save others during such a tragic experience. Every year, more than 350,000 people die in the U.S. of out-of-hospital SCA. According to the Sudden Cardiac Awareness Foundation, this number is almost equal to the amount of lives claimed by Alzheimer’s disease, assault with firearms, breast cancer, cervical cancer, colorectal cancer, diabetes, HIV, house fires, motor vehicle accidents, prostate cancer and suicide combined.

Despite such a high number, SCA can be treated successfully if caught in time for CPR and defibrillation with an automatic external defibrillator (AED). If a rescuer can perform these lifesaving tasks, survival rates increase from an average of 10 percent to 50 percent.

Every business, school and home should have an AED present and accessible. As part of SCA Awareness Month, we are encouraging the implementation of AEDs by partnering with our manufacturer ZOLL Medical and giving away two free AEDs!

The ZOLL AED Plus is designed for any rescuer and is also one of the only AEDs to provide Real CPR feedback . The Real CPR Help feature, audio and on-screen prompts will help walk rescuers through performing chest compressions. It also measures the depth and rate to ensure safety.

Throughout October, go to www.aed.com and sign up to win a free ZOLL AED Plus! Winners will be announced on 10/16/17 and 10/31/17 on the AED.com Facebook and Linkedin pages.

Commotio Cordis: Secret Killer in Young Athletes

Safety always comes before the game, especially when young people are involved. With sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) being the number one cause of death among student athletes, parents and coaches must be prepared for such an unimaginable event. Often times, SCA occurs in student athletes for one of these three reasons: A blow to the chest (Commotio Cordis); structural heart defects (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, Marfan syndrome, etc.); or electrical heart defects (long QT syndrome, Wolff-Parkinson White Syndromes, etc.).

Commotio Cordis is Latin for “agitation of the heart,” which occurs when there is a blow to the chest between heartbeats. This can trigger a SCA. According to a report by the UT Southwestern Medical Center, many of these incidents take place when youths are playing baseball, where the ball has the ability to travel at very high speeds. For example, when a student athlete is struck in the chest with a baseball, the heart will go into ventricular fibrillation. This means the heart will begin an uncoordinated quivering, and unless an external automatic defibrillator (AED) is present to shock the heart back into its appropriate rhythm, it will eventually stop.

Though Commotio Cordis is considered a rare event, is still the second most common cause of sudden death among athletes. It is most common in teenage boys, usually dropping off around the age of 20. The age factor —according to the UT report — could be related to the strengthening of the chest wall and a decline in playing sports after high school. Regardless, coaches and parents should learn to recognize the signs of Commotio Cordis in order to ensure the right precautions are taken for the safety of these athletes.

Be AED and CPR ready should you notice any of the below risk factors in a young athlete, especially if it follows trauma to the chest:

  • Fainting or seizures during or after exercising
  • Any indication of chest pains
  • Unexplained shortness of breath or long time to catch breath

http://www.aed.com/aed-packages-page/athletic-aed-packages.html

 

Why We Need AEDs in Schools

 

With school back in full swing again, teachers, coaches and other faculty members must strive to create a safe environment for every child that walks through their doors. Having that responsibility is big, but creating a little piece of mind by implementing automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in schools is even bigger. When we lose nearly 7,000 young people to sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) each year, it’s hard not to concern ourselves with the best way to respond should it strike during school hours. Not every school can afford to have emergency personnel on the premises, so having a life-saving source is key — especially when the AED is designed to walk any rescuer through defibrillation and CPR using voice prompts.

 

Despite the fact SCA can strike at any time in people of all ages and fitness levels, only 17 out of 50 states in the U.S. are required to install AEDs in schools, says an analysis published in the Journal of the American College Cardiology. This seems like an impossible number of states without the requirement for AEDs in schools, especially considering that defibrillation within three minutes of SCA can increase a person’s survival to 70 percent.

 

Often times, SCA occurs in young persons between the ages 10-19 years old; however, it can still strike in children of all ages without warning. According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, two-thirds of SCA-related deaths in children happen during exercise or activity. With this in mind, preparation for such a tragic event can start with simple CPR, AED and first training.

 

Knowing that AEDs are crucial to increasing someone’s survival rate, there’s no question as to why they’re needed in schools. So, before investing in an AED at your facility, you first want to be sure it’s affordable, reliable and, most importantly, easy to use. Fortunately, models like the Zoll AED Plus and the HeartSine Samaritan PAD 350P can offer a solution. Both of these affordable, lifesaving devices use voice prompts, which helps guide any rescuer through the resuscitation process. This allows the user to feel confident in their rescuing abilities during a very high stress situation.

Opioid Overdoses and Cardiac Arrest

EMS responders play a critical role in the treatment and, potentially, the prevention of the opioid epidemic we face today. Due to the staggering amount of deaths to opioid overdoses, it has been deemed a public health crisis. Opioids are responsible for decreasing the sensation of pain for the user by stimulating certain receptors in the brain. The lack of any perceived pain induces a feeling of euphoria- the feeling chased by opioid abusers.

The umbrella of opioids include heroin and several prescription painkillers such as methadone, oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine and fentanyl. During an opioid overdose, the patient experiences difficulty breathing and often respiratory arrest. Unfortunately, following respiratory arrest, a common secondary outcome of an opioid overdose occurs: cardiac arrest.

EMS responders often use naloxone which reverses the effects of opioid overdose, making it possible for the patient to breathe again. This drug is time sensitive and administering it can be a risky decision. Naloxone can prompt narcotic withdrawal symptoms and if it is administered too aggressively, the patient may have violent reactions. Since cardiac arrest frequently follows respiratory arrest, it is important to check the patient’s pulse and have an AED nearby in case the patient needs to be resuscitated. It is important to abide by the local rules if you have to administer naloxone to a patient in cardiac arrest.

With the help of properly and safely administered naloxone and timely use of an AED, many lives can and will be saved. EMS responders play a vital role in helping to decrease opioid overdoses every day. With the proper rehabilitation and education opportunities, this public health crisis may, one day, be less prevalent.

For more information about cardiac emergency preparedness, please visit www.aed.com.

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

 

Why CPR and AEDs?

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.

If a person you love suddenly collapses and is no longer breathing, they are in Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). In a panic, you may think the only thing you can do is wait for EMS to arrive, but every moment of time is critical in this dire situation. YOU can be a rescuer.

For every 60 seconds that pass, chances of surviving drops by 10% without CPR or defibrillation. After just 4 minutes, brain damage begins to occur. After 10 minutes, it is unlikely they can be saved. EMS response times are often 12-14 minutes in metro areas and even longer in rural areas. Unfortunately waiting for professionals to arrive is far too late in most cases. Providing CPR as a bystander can double or even triple chances of survival.

Be prepared to save a life.

Download CPR/AED Awareness Guide