Category Archives: Sudden Cardiac Arrest

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.

Summer Safety Tips

 

Summer is a season filled with sunshine, barbecues, and recreational swimming! Whether in a pool at home, at a friend’s, at the lake or the ocean, many kids and adults choose swimming as a top recreational activity each summer.

Water safety is top priority for many parents for good reason. According to the CDC, drowning is the leading cause of death in children ages 1-4. Though prevention is key, knowing how to perform CPR could save a life, like in this recent story of a 6th grader saving her friend by performing CPR after nearly drowning.


Staggering Swimming Stats:

  • About 91 million people over the age of 16 swim in oceans, lakes, and rivers each year in the United States.
  • More than half of fatal and nonfatal drownings among those 15 years and older occurred in natural water settings, including lakes, rivers and oceans.
  • In the U.S. alone, there are 10.4 million residential pools and 309,000 public swimming facilities (according to the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals).
  • Among children ages 1 to 4, most drownings occur in home swimming pools.

Cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) involves performing cycles of chest compressions and providing rescue breaths. For an unconscious person who is not breathing, a rescuer providing quality chest compressions does the work of the heart and lungs, circulating oxygen-rich blood to the brain, keeping vital organs alive and preserving brain function.

Anyone can perform CPR, however with training, potential rescuers are better prepared, more confident and more efficient at providing high-quality CPR.

Hands-only CPR:
Three easy steps to remember when performing hands-only CPR.

Ensure the scene is safe and call 911

Shout “Are you okay?” If unresponsive, immediately begin CPR

Press the heel of one hand on the chest, and place your other hand on top of the first and begin compressions pushing hard and fast at the rate of 100 to 120 beats per minute

Think “Staying Alive, Imperial March (Darth Vader’s theme song), Sweet Home Alabama and Dancing Queen. All have a rhythm of 100 beats per minute.


Water Safety & Drowning Prevention

Learn to Swim
1. Make certain everyone in your family know how to swim well.
2. Enroll young children in formal swimming lessons as soon as age-appropriate.

Preparation
1. Teach children to ask for permission to go near water.
2. Have young or inexperienced swimmers wear life jackets.
3. Use the buddy system, never let anyone swim alone.

Prevent Unsupervised Access to the Water
1. Ensure that pool barriers enclose the entire pool area, are at least 4-feet high with gates that are self-closing, self-latching and open outward, and away from the pool.
2. Remove access to above-ground pools such as ladders and outdoor furniture when pool is not in use.

Maintain Close Supervision
1. Maintain a constant watchful eye on kids, even if a lifeguard is present.
2. Stay within arm’s reach of young children and avoid distractions when you are supervising.

 

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

Spring into Action: Easy Tips to Avoid Heart Disease

Spring is FINALLY here! Spring means blossoms blooming, bees buzzing, rain raining, thunder thundering, lightning flashing, cool winds blowing, sunrise jogging, playground swinging, barbecuing, families gathering, sunset kissing, lemonade standing, and kids laughing. Spring means starting over, starting fresh and starting anew.

To millions of Americans, spring (and all of its spring-y-ness) is a reminder that they can’t do all of those things anymore because they suffer from heart disease. According to The American Heart Association (AHA), heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. Over 800,000 Americans died of heart disease each year. That’s 1 out of every 3 deaths. Think about that the next time you sit down for family dinner. Look to your left and then to your right. One of you will die from heart disease. Those are sobering statistics.

What can we do to avoid becoming a statistic? The AHA lists smoking, physical inactivity, and poor nutrition, among others, as the leading causes of heart disease. A good start is to follow some simple dos and don’ts. Here are a few tips that could save your life:

Have a healthy eating plan: Choose foods low in salt and saturated fat. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish and nuts. Try to avoid sugary drinks and red meat. If you’ve got to have that steak, get the filet. It has the lowest amount of fat on the menu. Don’t make your diet goals too big. Set small goals of eating a little better each day and each week. You’ll notice a difference in how you look and feel.

Be physically active: Little bits of exercise each day can go a long way towards avoiding heart disease. The goal is to exercise 60 minutes each day. That’s a lofty target, and most of us just don’t have that kind of time. You can do small things like take the stairs instead of the elevator, or park on the far end of the parking lot instead of right next to the grocery store. You will find yourself feeling stronger in no time.

Tame your stress: Easier said than done, right? The AHA says long term stress can cause increases in heart rate and blood pressure that may damage artery walls. Learning stress management techniques like deep breathing exercises will not only benefit your body, but also your quality of life.

Spring Into Action! And make small choices today that will pay off the rest of your life. Your friends and family will love you for it!

Written by John Bryson, Director of Marketing, DXE Medical Inc.

April is Stress Awareness Month!

Blog image1_April

The American Heart Institute of Stress has reported that 90% of visits to primary care physicians are stress related disorders. Commonly ranging from stomach issues to heart disease. Did you know that job related stress costs businesses about $150 billion a year? It is important to pay attention to how you deal with minor and major stress events so that you know when to seek help.

People feel stress in different ways. Some people experience digestive symptoms, while others have headaches, sadness, insomnia, and irritability. Over time, these symptoms may contribute to major health concerns such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and depression.

Here are five tips to help manage stress:

• Be mindful of the signs – sleeplessness, low energy and feeling irritable are some signs that you need to take a break from the stressor. Give yourself permission to recharge by doing something else. What’s stressing you out may not go away but allowing yourself 20 minutes to get fresh air, take deep breaths, and meditate, can help you feel less overwhelmed and may give you a new perspective.

• Exercise – moving your body can have some direct stress relieving benefits. Studies show that regular physical activity produce endorphins in the brain that act as natural painkillers – which in turn reduces stress. A twenty minute walk during a stressful time can have immediate effect that can last several hours.

• Laugh – laughter provides a physical and emotional release which in turn increases endorphins. A good belly laugh to the point of happy tears is also a great internal workout which provides a good workout for the heart and diaphragm. Laughter also connects us with others, just as smiling and kindness do.

• Stay connected and socialize – Reach out to a friend and share your concerns. It may help to relieve stress but remember it’s important that the person whom you talk is trustworthy. Socialization, or enjoying other people’s company and maintaining a sense of connectedness to others, is an important component of stress reduction.

• Set goals and prioritize – choose what must get done and what can wait, and learn to say no to new tasks if they are putting you into overload. Recognize what you have accomplished at the end of the day, not what you have been unable to do. Be sure to plan for setbacks and think about how you can plan ahead for how to deal with them if they happen.

Our bodies were designed to cope with acute stress, not the chronic stress we face daily in the workplace or at home. Chronic stress can lead to deteriorating overall health. It’s important to recognize what triggers stress and learn tools that can help you cope.

source: stress.org, apa.org

 

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.

21 Yr Old Athlete Suffers Cardiac Arrest, Saved by Friend’s Stepdad

Spencer Thomas, left, received cardiopulmonary resuscitation from Jeff Nunes, right, the stepfather of Thomas’ friend Colt Parshall.
Spencer Thomas, left, received cardiopulmonary resuscitation from Jeff Nunes, right, the stepfather of Thomas’ friend.

21-year-old, Spencer Thomas is lucky to be alive, thanks to his friend’s stepdad, Jeff Nunes, who saved his life on November 5th. An all-star athlete in football and baseball for Oakdale High School and Modesto Junior College, Spencer was in top shape.

Yet on the evening of Nov 5th, as he watched a sports game with his buddies at the Nunes house, he fell victim to Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Fortunately, Jeff Nunes, who has taken a CPR course every year for his lineman job at Pacific Gas & Electric Co. was in the next room. Continue reading 21 Yr Old Athlete Suffers Cardiac Arrest, Saved by Friend’s Stepdad