Category Archives: Cardiac Arrest

Key Differences Between a Heart Attack, Sudden Cardiac Arrest, and a Stroke

Infographic: American Heart Association

Is it a Heart Attack, Sudden Cardiac Arrest, or a Stroke?

They’re all serious conditions that require immediate medical attention but many people don’t fully understand the differences between these three common killers. Simply put, a heart attack is a circulatory problem, sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is an electrical malfunction in the heart, and a stroke is caused by a blood clot or ruptured blood vessel in the brain.  

In this article, we’ll help you understand what’s happening within the body during each of these medical emergencies.

Although the risk factors may be the same from person to person, understanding the differences between these conditions can be a matter of life and death.

What’s a Heart Attack?

Heart attacks are, essentially, a circulation problem and they occur when blood flow to a person’s heart is severely reduced or blocked. Heart attacks can be relatively mild or very, very serious.

During a heart attack, an artery becomes clogged and cannot carry enough oxygen to the heart. The heart may continue to beat normally but if the blockage is not quickly resolved, parts of the cardiac muscle will begin to die from lack of oxygen. The longer a heart attack goes on without treatment, the greater the damage to the muscle.

Symptoms of a Heart Attack

You may be able to prevent a heart attack from occurring if you know what to look for and you listen to your body! Symptoms can occur hours, days, and even weeks before the heart attack itself. 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

It’s well worth noting that women may experience symptoms of a heart attack differently from 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 (American Heart Association).

In addition to (or instead of) the symptoms listed above, women may experience pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, lightheadedness, fainting, flu-like symptoms or extreme fatigue.

What’s Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Cardiac arrest is an electrical problem and is caused when an individual’s heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating, which prevents blood and oxygen from flowing to vital organs. Unlike a heart attack, SCA is always serious. Without the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) to shock the heart back into a healthy rhythm, death can occur within minutes.

Symptoms of Cardiac Arrest

A heart attack often telegraphs its arrival with clearly defined symptoms, SCA, however, can occur with little or no warning, as it did for SCA survivor Rob Seymour. 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, heart attacks, cardiomyopathy, or 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’s a Stroke?

A stroke is a “brain attack” that can happen to anyone at any time and occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked by a clogged or burst blood vessel. When blood flow to the brain is cut off, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die. When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain such as memory and muscle control are permanently lost (National Stroke Association).

Symptoms of Stroke

Using the acronym FAST, you just may be able to save someone’s life. If someone’s face begins to droop or they’re complaining of numbness, ask them to smile. If the person’s smile is lopsided, they may be having a stroke. If their arm is weak or numb, ask them to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? Is their speech slurred or strange? If someone is showing any of these symptoms, it’s time to call 9-1-1 immediately.

What You Can Do to Assist Someone Who is Experiencing a Heart Attack, SCA, or Having a Stroke?

If you witness someone suffering from a possible heart attack, SCA, or a stroke 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.

You never know when your actions could help save a life.

To become better equipped to offer assistance, sign up for first aid, CPR, and AED training 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.

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Be Ready to Help in a Heartbeat

Student athletes spend hours training for competition — but how about training to save a life?

SCA on soccer field.

Studies show that 6,000 – 8,000 teens experience sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) annually.1 Every three days, a student athlete falls victim to sudden cardiac death.2

Student athletes are at heightened risk for SCA due to the additional strain placed on the heart during athletic conditioning and competition. Contributing factors include the influx of adrenaline, dehydration, fever, and changes in electrolytes.3

While SCA isn’t preventable, sudden cardiac death can be. All it takes is to educate students on the symptoms that can precede an SCA event and to have an automated external defibrillator (AED) readily available during athletic practices and competition.

SCA can strike without warning, but sometimes symptoms are presented. Student athletes often dismiss symptoms preceding an SCA event for fear of losing precious game time. That’s why it’s vitally important for athletes to fully understand the risks they face and feel confident speaking up to prevent sudden cardiac death.

Here are some of the warning signs:5

  • Fainting
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat – racing or fluttering
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Extreme fatigue

Nine out of ten victims who receive a shock from an AED within the first minute of SCA survive.4 Ensuring that your students and coaches are trained to respond to an SCA emergency could help save a life.

Download the ‘Help in a Heartbeat’ flyer to educate your team about the symptoms of SCA.

To learn more about the latest package from Cardiopartners to help your athletic teams respond to any emergency, visit: https://www.aed.com/zoll-aed-plus-athletic-director-s-package

1 “Sudden Cardiac Arrest and Teenage Athletes: What’s the Risk?”. Promise powered by Nemours Children’s Health System. https://blog.nemours.org/2017/02/sudden-cardiac-arrest-teenage-athletes-risk/

2 “Young Athletes & Sudden Cardiac Arrest”. Boston Scientific. http://www.your-heart-health.com/content/close-the-gap/en-US/heart-disease-facts/young-athletes.html

3 “Sports and Sudden Cardiac Arrest(SCA)”. Cardiosmart – American College of Cardiology. https://www.cardiosmart.org/Heart-Conditions/Sports-and-Sudden-Cardiac-Arrest

4Source: 2017, AHA Mediagenic Survey Results; 2017, AHA with Edelman Intelligence; 2017, AHA with BLR Media; Postgrad Medical Journal, October 2007.

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5 Heart-SMART Goals For 2019

Achieve These 5 Goals and You Could Save a Life

Happy New Year from all of us here at Cardio Partners! We know you have your resolutions lined up but around here, we’re all about setting SMART goals. For those of you who need a refresher, that’s Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. There’s something so incredibly satisfying about setting a clear goal and achieving it, so let’s start the New Year with a solid action plan.

2019 Goals

GOAL #1: Become First Aid Certified

If you’ve been putting off getting your First Aid certification or telling yourself that you’ll “get around to it,” well, now’s the time.

In fact, here’s your SMART Goal in one tidy little package: Become First Aid certified by the end of National Heart Awareness Month in February.

Visit the American Red Cross or American Heart Association to find a class near you. Classes are affordable, convenient, and flexible. Blended courses, which combine online coursework with in-person skills training, are great options for busy professionals.

GOAL #2: Get Your CPR and AED Certification

Once you have your freshly minted First Aid certification in hand, level up with CPR and AED training. To keep yourself accountable and to fulfill the Timely requirement, set a deadline for yourself! May 30 seems pretty reasonable to us. Again, to find a class near you, the American Red Cross or American Heart Association are the websites to visit.

Wondering what you’ll learn? Check out 10 Reasons Why You Should Learn CPR, or more to the point, What Will I Learn From a CPR or First Aid Class?

GOAL #3: Encourage Your Friends & Colleagues to Become First Aid & CPR Certified

Congratulations! You’ve passed the tests and made the grade! Now, encourage others to do the same. Think about the folks in your life who would benefit from becoming certified and jot down a quick list. Whether you opt to encourage one family member, start a movement within your community, or recruit 10 colleagues, make sure your goal is specific, measurable, and attainable.

We’re thinking “Encourage at least 15 friends and colleagues to register for First Aid, CPR, and AED Certification before the end of the year” sounds pretty doable.

GOAL #4: Invest in a Stop the Bleed Kit

Think of it as a graduation gift to yourself. Violence is a sad reality in America these days, so it’s best to be prepared.

Curaplex Stop the Bleed kits are intentionally designed to provide the trained rescuer with immediate access to life-saving products that can control bleeding and traumatic hemorrhaging. Basic kits start at $59.99 and the compact, vacuum-packed and tamper-proof kit includes:

A permanent marker
2 pairs of gloves, latex-free, large
1 C-A-T® tourniquet
1 emergency bandage
Pair of trauma shears, 7.5”
2 rolls of primed, compressed gauze dressing
A printed insert which shows instructions for use
Advanced kits include 1 Pack of HALO seals and QuikClot combat gauze.

GOAL #5: Start a Fundraiser for a Community AED

We recently donated a refurbished AED to the Q Center in Portland, Oregon, but as much as we’d like to, we simply can’t donate an AED to every deserving community center in the country. We can, however, share some great advice for funding for your AED program!

GotAED, an initiative of Simon’s Heart, is a crowdfunding site dedicated to placing AEDs in areas where children learn and play. The site invites schools and youth organizations to begin a campaign to fund the purchase of an AED and offers tips and suggestions to help ensure a successful crowdsourcing campaign. If your organization isn’t kid-focused, you may want to look into other popular crowdfunding platforms like CauseVox and CrowdRise.

Before you launch a crowdfunding campaign, be sure to familiarize yourself with the laws regulating nonprofit fundraising in your state. A good place to start your research is the National Council of Nonprofits.

For the full scoop, download our Grant Guide.

Have burning questions about our products and services? Ready to achieve your heart-smart goals? Please contact Cardio Partners at 866-349-4362. We also welcome your emails, and you can reach us at customerservice@cardiopartners.com.

 

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