With the news of ambulance response times increasing it’s becoming more important to have an AED (automated external defibrillator) nearby in case of those unthinkable emergencies.The average ambulance should take 8 minutes to reach a casualty however, that time has now increased by a minute and in some areas over 2, now that doesn’t seem too much, but when your brain is being starved of oxygen from a sudden cardiac arrest that minute could make all the difference.
What is a cardiac arrest?A cardiac arrest is when your heart stops pumping blood around the body, when this happens the casualty loses consciousness almost immediately.
What causes a cardiac arrest?The most common cause of a cardiac arrest is ventricular fibrillation, this is when the electrical activity of the heart becomes abnormal which then leads to the heart stopping or quivering (or fibrillates). The main causes of VF are:
- Coronary heart disease
- Heart attack (this is different to a cardiac arrest, which we will look at later)
- Congenital heart disease
- Heart valve disease
- Inflammation of the heart muscle (also called acute myocarditis)
- Any other heart conditions
What damage can a cardiac arrest cause?Brain damage can be caused by a cardiac arrest, this is because when the heart stops pumping blood around the body it also stops much needed oxygen reaching the brain.
How does an AED/Defibrillator work?An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is a portable device which works by checking the heart rhythm and determining whether a shock is required to prevent a cardiac arrest.
What is the difference between a cardiac arrest and a heart attack?There is a common misconception that a cardiac arrest and a heart attack are the same, they are not.
Author Bio - Laura Holland
Social Media and Web Content Coordinator, Jan 2014 - May 2015