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Cardiac Arrest - CPR and Defibrillation

What is cardiac arrest?

A cardiac arrest is a serious emergency. It happens when there’s an electrical problem in the heart and it suddenly stops pumping blood around your body. When your heart stops pumping blood, your brain gets no oxygen. It causes the person to fall unconscious and stop breathing. Without CPR the person will die within minutes.

When should you do CPR? CPR should only be done if someone is:

  • unconscious and not breathing

  • unconscious and not breathing properly.

If someone is unconscious but they're breathing normally call 999 and put them in the recovery position.

What if their heart is beating but they’re not breathing?

This is called a respiratory arrest, and it’ll become a cardiac arrest quickly without CPR. Don’t waste time checking for a pulse – if someone is unresponsive and not breathing or not breathing normally then call 999, start CPR and get someone to find a defibrillator.

As soon as a defibrillator is found turn it on and follow its clear instructions. The defibrillator will decide whether a shock is needed and if so, it will tell you to press the shock button. An automatic defibrillator will shock the person without prompt. Don’t touch the person while they're being shocked.

CPR with rescue breaths

  1. Place the heel of your hand on the centre of the person's chest, then place the palm of your other hand on top and press down by 5 to 6cm (2 to 2.5 inches) at a steady rate of 100 to 120 compressions a minute.

  2. After every 30 chest compressions, give 2 rescue breaths.

  3. Tilt the person's head gently and lift the chin up with 2 fingers. Pinch the person's nose. Seal your mouth over their mouth and blow steadily and firmly into their mouth for about 1 second. Check that their chest rises. Give 2 rescue breaths.

  4. Continue with cycles of 30 chest compressions and 2 rescue breaths until they begin to recover or emergency help arrives.

If you are interested in learning more about First Aid and becoming a First Aid Trainer, we offer a variety of QNUK Level 3 Courses, including:

First Aid at Work (FAW)

First Aid at Work Re-qualifier (FAW-R)

Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW)

Paediatric First Aid (PFA)

Responding to an incident with an AED (RAED)

Contact us below to book a course, or enquire about your business and requirements:

01782 438813

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