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Your Act: Cardiac Arrest

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The “King of Pop”, Michael Jackson died of cardiac arrest on Thursday leaving so many of us puzzled, devastated and thinking… “How did that happen?” While the forensic reports will take some time to be revealed (approximately 6-8 weeks, as stated by CNN), it is definitely worth looking into the subject of cardiac arrest, how it is caused and what you should be doing when one suffers from cardiac arrest.

Firstly, what is cardiac arrest? As the name itself implies, the heart ceases to function suddenly within a matter of minutes of noticing symptoms. The victim may or may not be a heart patient. The cause of cardiac arrest varies and thus, basically those who are heart patients, coronary heart disease is attributed to cardiac arrest. It may also be caused due to rapid beating of the heart (known as arrhythmia) or due to slow heart beat eventually ceasing the heart function. Cardiac arrest can be due to trauma, electric shock and even choking. In some cases, it may not have a cause at all.

Secondly, how do you know if the victim suffered a cardiac arrest? Here are some pinpoints that’d help you:
• No response from the victim.
• No movement from the victim.
• Irregular or no breathing pattern.
• Blue-coloring of the skin
• No pulse.

Cardiac arrest is a serious heart implication that requires urgent attention. This means you will have to be very fast. Here’s what you should do:

• Remove any restricting clothing of the victim and see if they respond to a simple question such as, “Are you fine?”
• Then, look for the signs of breathing. Check their pulse. Your best bet would be the Adam’s apple located on the side of the neck.
• See if the victim is breathing by mouth.
• Perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) if the victim is not breathing; quickly.
• Do chest compressions.
• If you have an automated external defibrillator, use it. If you have a heart patient at home, it is a must to have this device in order to restore heart function in the event of cardiac arrest.
• If nothing works, lay the victim in the recovery position and call emergency 911. Of course, continue doing CPR.

Add a Comment2 Comments

With all due respect, chest compressions are done in the event of no breathing and no pulse at all and that's exactly what I am stating here. Check out the previous line that states (do CPR if the victim is not breathing). Doing chest compressions is another option in case there is no pulse. Further, the other option you've got is the use of automated external defribillator. You don't do EVERYTHING at once. You try one of the options to save a life. Either you do a CPR, OR you do a chest compression (note: in the event of no pulse) OR use an automated external defribillator. Thank you.

June 28, 2009 - 7:40pm
EmpowHER Guest

umm..NO, you don't do chest compressions if the victim has a pulse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You give rescue breaths if not breathing and only start CPR if no pulse is detected. (Partial editing by moderator for violating terms of use)

June 28, 2009 - 7:02pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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