Sudden cardiac arrest is a killer of both the old and the young. Contradictory to most people’s beliefs, sudden cardiac arrest is not isolated to those with coronary issues or a history of heart conditions. It can also be caused by extreme physical stress, extreme physical trauma such as major blood loss, and extreme trauma in general. It is also quite common for younger people to be unaware of rare congenital heart conditions that may cause sudden cardiac arrest. Due to lack of definitive warning signs, the extreme rate of physical decline after an attack and the difficulty in achieving an effective response time, around 15,000-20,000 people die from sudden cardiac arrest each year in Australia.
Sudden cardiac arrest is the “stopping of the heart” although the complete stopping of the heart is in fact caused by arrhythmias. These arrhythmias are a result of the malfunctioning of the heart’s electrical system. When this system misfires, the heart beats too fast, too slow or irregularly, preventing the blood from flowing around the body and providing oxygen to the organs. Generally a sudden cardiac arrest attack will be signaled by fainting or a loss of consciousness, with breathing failing shortly after. Some people may experience dizziness or lightheadedness before losing consciousness.
Due to the sudden onset of a sudden cardiac arrest attack there is not often an opportunity for the medical issue to be identified and preemptively dealt with. However there are a number of tests that a doctor may carry out to identify if an individual is at risk of sudden cardiac arrest:
Electrocardiography will look at the electrical system of the heart
Echocardiography will use sound waves to create an image of the heart to assess how the heart is working.
Cardiac catheterization uses a catheter entered into the body through an artery or vein in the leg or arm and into the heart to inspect the state of the heart.
Electrophysiology studies show how the heart handles controlled electrical signals.
Gated blood pool scans identify how well the heart is pumping blood.
Magnetic resonance imaging provides clear pictures of the heart.
If you or your staff/family have been identified as being at risk of sudden cardiac arrest then it is even more important that you have access to a defibrillator. A defibrillator is an excellent safety addition to any environment. The unit will read a victim’s heart beats and apply the require electrical pulse to assist the heart to return to a regular rhythm.The quicker this intervention is provided the better for the victim, as brain death will begin to occur within minutes of a victim’s collapse. this means that your defibrillator needs to be easy to get to and obvious to anyone, even those not familiar to the area. This cabinet has clear lettering and can be mounted on a wall that will be simple for a responder to locate. When the cabinet is opened an alarm will sound, alerting all in the vicinity of the medical emergency.