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Heart arrest which is also known as circulatory arrest is different from heart attack. It is the cessation of normal circulation of the blood due to failure of the heart to contract effectively. While Heart attack is the interruption of blood supply to a part of the heart, causing heart cells to die. Heart arrest is already common nowadays even young children have already experiencing this illness.
Arrested blood circulation prevents delivery of oxygen to the body. Lack of oxygen to the brain causes loss of consciousness, which then results in abnormal or absent breathing. If heart arrest goes untreated for more than five minutes, it will result brain injury and may lead to death.
If there is heart arrest in your household – avoid panicking. Calm down and relax. The first thing what you would do is (1) Call or summon a medical person/officer as soon as possible in every case, (2) Feel pulse of the person, listen for heartbeat with ear against chest, (3) If no heartbeat is heard, start Heart-Lung Resuscitation.
Under Heart-Lung Resuscitation – here you are providing the first aid to the person while waiting for the rescuer or the medical team. You would do the following to the person with heart arrest:
- Place the person on his back on a firm surface. Extend his head backwards so his chin points straight upwards.
- Place the heel of one hand in the center of the chest over the lower one-half of the breastbone and place the heel of the other hand on top of it. The fingers must be lifted so they do not touch the ribs. Pressure on ribs may break them.
- Rock forward and use the weight of your body to press the breastbone vertically downward 1 to 2 inches. This compresses the heart between breastbone and backbone and propels blood out of the heart into the lungs and body.
- Release the pressure for just as long as you pressed. The chest will expand and the heart will fill with blood. Repeat this pressure once every second.
- Other household member should give Rescue Breathing – by blowing a breath in once between each 5 to 8 compressions of the heart with the least possible pause in heart compressions.
- If there is another household member present, he should help also inflating the lungs with two or three quick breaths after 10 to 15 heart compressions.
If you are alone rescuing the person – just relax, give the best help you can give to him until the medical team arrive following the first six aid mentioned above or bring him to the nearest hospital.