Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Diagnosis and Treatment
There is one definitive therapy for sudden cardiac arrest: defibrillation . Several other treatment options exist for survivors of cardiac arrest. A cardiologist or electrophysiologist (a cardiologist with a specialization in the electrical function of the heart) provides these therapies. The American Heart Association advocates using the “chain of survival,” which refers to the four crucial links in the emergency care of sudden cardiac arrest.
- Early access to care: In most commuities, dialing 911 activates the emergency medical system, which dispatches the appropriate emergency personnel to the scene.
- Early cardipulminary resusciatation: CPR, when performed properly, can add a few minutes to the time available for successful defibrillation . Millions of people have learned the breathing and chest compression techniques of CPR, but it does not replace defibrillation in saving lives.
- Early defibrillation : The critical link in treating victims in VF is delivering electric shock. Each minute the heart is not returned to the normal pattern of beating decreases the chance of survival by 10 percent. After as little as 10 minutes , few resuscitation attempts are successful.
- Early Advanced Care:After receiving successful defibrillation, some patients require advanced treatments, such as airway control or intravenous drugs, on the way to the hospital.
Last updated: 23-Feb-07