It happens so quickly. You are outside walking down the street when you notice someone nearby collapses to the ground. The person is likely experiencing sudden cardiac arrest (SCA): the abrupt loss of heart function, breathing and consciousness.
What should you do?
- Ask Someone to Call 9-1-1
Call 9-1-1 immediately so that emergency medical services (EMS) team members can begin performing interventional care on the way to the hospital.
- Start Using Hands-Only CPR
Hands-only CPR is CPR that doesn’t require the administrator to breathe into the victim’s mouth. Since 70% of all SCAs occur outside of a hospital, the immediate use of Hands-Only CPR can help shorten the time that oxygen is not flowing to the brain, heart and other vital organs.
To perform Hands-Only CPR, place the heel of one hand on the breastbone, just below the nipples. Then place the heel of your other hand on top of the first hand, interlocking your fingers. Use your body weight to compress the chest two inches each time, at least 100 times a minute. The Bee Gees’ hit “Stayin’ Alive” is a good song to time your compressions, as it was recorded at 100 beats per minute.
- Use an AED if Available
Automated External Defibrillators (AED) are life-saving devices that analyze the rhythms of the heart and deliver appropriate electrical shocks to restore the heart’s normal rhythm. Many models have voice prompts to instruct you on the next steps and will automatically administer an electric shock if it determines it is necessary. Follow the steps in this video when using it.
- Continue using Hands-Only CPR and an AED
Use Hands-Only CPR and the AED until the EMS team arrives or the person begins breathing.
For more information about our cardiac services, visit bsahs.org/heart.