Monthly Archives: March 2018

What’s the Difference Between a Heart Attack and Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Is it a Heart Attack or Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Source: Parent Heart Watch

If you haven’t put much thought into the difference between a heart attack and sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), don’t feel too bad! Many people believe that a heart attack and SCA are the same thing and commonly use the terms interchangeably.

In a nutshell, a heart attack is a circulation problem and cardiac arrest is an electrical problem. Although individuals who have suffered a heart attack are more likely to experience SCA, the two cardiac events are very different! To improve survival odds, it’s important to gain a deeper understanding of the key differences between a heart attack and SCA.

What is a Heart Attack?

During a heart attack, an artery becomes clogged and cannot carry adequate oxygen to the heart. In many cases, the heart continues to beat normally but if the blockage is not quickly resolved, parts of the cardiac muscle will begin to die. Like all muscles, your heart requires oxygen-rich blood for survival. The longer a heart attack goes on without treatment, the greater the damage to the muscle.

Comedian, actor, filmmaker, and former convenience store clerk Kevin Smith (@ThatKevenSmith) made headlines last month by tweeting, “After the first show this evening, I had a massive heart attack. The Doctor who saved my life told me I had 100% blockage of my LAD artery (aka “the Widow-Maker”). If I hadn’t canceled show 2 to go to the hospital, I would’ve died tonight. But for now, I’m still above ground!”

Health.com notes that, “Recovery from a heart attack typically involves medications, changes in diet and exercise habits, and sometimes surgery. Happily, less than a month after his cardiac scare, Smith was back on Twitter announcing that he’d lost 20 pounds and that his blood pressure was “amazing.”

Symptoms of a Heart Attack

According to the Library of Congress, the heart is the hardest working muscle in the body. It pumps out two ounces of blood at every heartbeat. Each day, your heart pumps at least 2,500 gallons of blood! And if you live into your 80s, your heart will have beaten more than three billion times. That’s one hard-charging muscle, so return the favor by paying attention to the signals your heart may be sending you.

If you know what to look for, you may even be able to prevent a heart attack from occurring. Symptoms can occur hours, days, and even weeks before a heart attack. The most common symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • Pain or discomfort in the chest
  • Lightheadedness, nausea, or vomiting
  • Jaw, neck, or back pain
  • Discomfort or pain in arm or shoulder
  • Shortness of breath

Women may experience these symptoms differently than men. Even though heart disease is the number-one killer of women in the United States, women often fail to identify their symptoms as warning signs of a heart attack.

“‘Although men and women can experience chest pressure that feels like an elephant sitting across the chest, women can experience a heart attack without chest pressure,’ said Nieca Goldberg, M.D., medical director for the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU’s Langone Medical Center and an American Heart Association volunteer. ‘Instead they may experience shortness of breath, pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, upper back pressure or extreme fatigue’” (American Heart Association).

The key takeaway: listen to your body and don’t hesitate to seek medical help should you experience any of these symptoms.

What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Unlike a heart attack, SCA can occur with little or no warning, as it did for SCA survivor Rob Seymour. SCA occurs when the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. Symptoms are immediate and dire: sudden loss of consciousness/responsiveness, lack of breathing, and no pulse. During a cardiac arrest, the heart stops beating and the organs of the body are deprived of oxygen.

When the heart stops beating, death can occur within minutes.

SCA can be caused by any number of events such as ventricular fibrillation, a sudden blow to the chest, electrocution, drowning, drug abuse, cardiomyopathy, and hypothermia. Cardiac arrest can be reversible if it’s treated in the first few minutes with CPR and by using an AED on the victim.

What You Can Do

If you witness someone suffering from a possible heart attack or SCA, call 911 immediately. The operator may be able to help you administer compression-only CPR to the victim. If possible, ask a bystander to locate an AED. To become even better equipped to respond in the event of a cardiac emergency, sign up for a first aid and CPR course. You never know when your actions could help save a life.

Get certified today. Cardio Partners offers CPR, First Aid, AED, and bloodborne pathogen training courses in all 50 states in traditional classroom settings and in blended learning courses. To learn more about our courses or to schedule a training, call our team at 866-349-4362 or email Cardio Partners at customerservice@cardiopartners.com.

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post

The Importance of CPR and AEDs: An SCA Survivor’s Story

Cardiac Arrest Survivor Rob Seymour Advocates for CPR Training and Public Access to AEDs

On Sunday, May 3, 2015, Philadelphians were enjoying one of those postcard-worthy spring days that city-dwellers cherish. The skies were blue, the sun was shining, the air was clear, and the temperature was just right. Runners from all over the country who had gathered in the City of Brotherly Love couldn’t have asked for a better day for the annual Blue Cross Broad Street Run.

Atlanta native Rob Seymour, then 26, and his wife Michelle were among the nearly 40,000 athletes jogging their way to the finish line at Philly’s famed Naval Yard. The popular run down the city’s main north-south thoroughfare is the largest 10-mile race in the nation and a favorite among runners.

A lifelong athlete with a passion for baseball, basketball, and running, Rob had achieved a personal record time during the 2014 race and was focusing on enjoying his fifth Broad Street Run with his wife. They were both looking forward to the celebratory tailgate with friends and family at the end of the course.

“It was a leisurely run. That year the goal was to have Michelle finish the race, so it was a different experience. It was a lot of fun. We were enjoying ourselves through the whole race,” said Rob in a recent interview.

Rob and Michelle never made it to that tailgate, however.

Just moments after Rob and his wife triumphantly crossed the finish line, he began to feel dizzy. At first, he thought it was a low blood pressure issue but soon realized that it was something far more serious.

“My vision just kept closing and things got blurrier and blurrier. I realized that it wasn’t going to stop. I called out to my wife hoping to catch myself on her. She turned around just in time to watch me drop to my knees and fall face first onto the ground,” remembers Rob.

Soon after he hit the pavement, he began seizing. Fortunately, a nearby team of paramedics saved his life. One began performing CPR while the other grabbed a portable automatic external defibrillator (AED). The device quickly recognized that his heart had gone into ventricular fibrillation (V-fib) and applied one shock. After the life-saving shock, Rob’s heart resumed its normal rhythm.

The next thing he remembers he was lying on his back, admiring the clear blue sky as the gurney he was on bumped along to the ambulance. Rob, who worked in the health insurance industry at the time, knew full well the costs associated with the ambulance ride and the treatment they were discussing. Assuming he was merely dehydrated, he found himself requesting a Gatorade and questioning the need for an IV and challenging the EMTs on whether or not he really needed to go to the hospital.

Then the paramedic told him that his heart had stopped and that he’d gone into sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

“My wife, who was in the front of the ambulance turned around and told me to just let them do their job,” recalls Rob.

During the five days that Rob spent at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, physicians ran a full battery of cardiac tests in an attempt to determine what had happened.

“They looked at everything they could look at structurally and electrophysiologically, but ultimately they couldn’t tell me what caused the situation,” remembers Rob.

He opted to have a subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator (S-ICD) implanted to constantly monitor his heart rate. Fortunately, he hasn’t had any episodes since that day in May and he has the peace of mind of knowing that the S-ICD will shock his heart back into a normal rhythm if necessary.

“If such a thing had to happen, I was certainly in the right place at the right time. I could have been out on my own on a weekend run like I had been hundreds of times. I was so fortunate that the medics and the AED were there,” says Rob.

Since Rob’s SCA, not only does he notice the location of AEDs in airports and in public buildings, but both he and his wife enrolled in a CPR class. Today, he’s an advocate for learning  CPR.

“We felt we needed to be prepared to do that [perform CPR] for someone else,” notes Rob. “We needed to know that we could keep someone alive until help arrives. It wasn’t all that difficult, but it gave us the confidence to know that we could help someone.”

Cardio Partners Account Specialist Sean Stargel, who attended elementary and high school with Rob, remembers him as an outgoing and active athlete who excelled at basketball and baseball.

“Honestly, it’s scary to hear about an AED being used on someone I’ve known as long as I’ve known Rob. I’m very grateful that there was AED present to provide the life-saving therapy that he needed,” says Sean. “We’re in this for a reason and that reason is to make sure that people are informed about the risks of SCA. We provide these devices so that people have a solution within reach.”

Cardio Partners is a trusted nationwide CPR training center. To learn more about our courses or to schedule a training, call our team at 866-349-4362 or email Cardio Partners at customerservice@cardiopartners.com.

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post

Texas Girl Scout Earns Prestigious Gold Award and Donates ZOLL AED Plus to City Park

Jillian Rash Donates AED to Twin Coves Park and Raises Heart Health Awareness in Flower Mound, Texas

 

Flower Mound, a close-knit community located just 20 miles northwest of Dallas, is known for its proximity to Grapevine Lake and the eponymous 12-acre hill covered in native prairie grasses and wildflowers. Now, the city has one more claim to fame: the home of newly-minted Girl Scout Gold Award recipient Jillian Rash.

For more than a year, Jillian, a junior at Flower Mound High School, worked tirelessly to increase awareness about heart disease in women and to raise enough money to donate an AED to the city’s popular Twin Coves Park.

After watching town hall meetings and discovering that there was a need for an AED at the park, Jillian set her goals and got to work.

Her incredible Girl Scout Gold Award journey concluded on March 5, 2018, when Jillian made her final heart health awareness presentation to members of City Council. Community attendees were visibly and vocally impressed by the young advocate’s hard work and by her varied efforts to raise awareness around this incredibly important issue.

Of the presentation earlier this month, Jillian says “It was really exciting. It was everything that I had worked on for the past year and a half had come to a peak. I was really proud of all that I had done. I also really enjoyed talking to all the people in the community. I had people coming up to me telling me how AEDs saved their lives. It’s just really exciting to see that my project had an impact on people and that they benefited from it. That was my goal.”

Frank Mannino, a strategic account manager for Cardio Partners, had the privilege of handing over the ZOLL AED Plus to Jillian, who then presented it to park manager Mark Long. She also was able to donate a recessed wall cabinet to help ensure visibility and public access to the life-saving device.

“Cardio Partners was really excited to help and to offer our support for such a dedicated young woman who wants to help her community,” says Mannino. “I know hundreds of people who do this for a living and I was so impressed that she volunteered to do this! Education is key, really. And she took the time to educate herself and then put in all the effort to educate other people and change her community. She’s teaching people how to react in the event of a cardiac emergency and giving individuals a chance.”

Jillian chose this ambitious project after witnessing the devastating impact of heart disease in her community and subsequently learning that heart disease is the leading cause of death among women in the United States. The American Heart Association notes that heart disease contributes to 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year.

“I think death from heart attacks are so preventable,” says Jillian. “If you know symptoms of a heart attack you can be proactive and go to the hospital.”

Over the course of 18 months, Jillian advocated for women’s heart health awareness and helped community members learn more about how to lead heart-healthy lives.

She created a public Gold Award Women’s Heart Health Awareness Facebook page, where she posted daily tips to help group members make heart-healthy decisions. She also hosted a fun workshop for Flower Mound elementary girls to teach them about heart health habits.

Even more significantly, in February of 2017 and 2018, Jillian hosted AED/CPR trainings and First Aid courses that resulted in the certification of nearly 100 individuals. During this time, she was also busy raising funds to purchase a new ZOLL AED Plus and to provide training to four Twin Coves Park employees.

“On behalf of the Parks and Rec Department and the Twin Coves staff, and anyone who goes into the park, we want to thank you for your efforts,” said park manager Mark Long, during his remarks at the March 3 meeting. “It would be my plea to you to become certified in the AED or CPR or basic First Aid. You never know when you’ll need to use it. And while I hope we never have to use it at Twin Coves Park, I know that because of Jillian’s efforts, we’re going to be prepared for that day.”

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest achievement that a Girl Scout can receive. The award recognizes girls who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership and who have identified and completed projects that have a long-lasting and sustainable impact on their local community and beyond. Over the past century, nearly 1 million dedicated and driven girls have made a lasting impact on their communities and beyond. Jillian Rash is a member of Troop 3838, led by Andie Milton.

To learn more about how Cardio Partners can help you serve your community, contact our team at 866-349-4362 or email Cardio Partners at customerservice@cardiopartners.com.

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post