How do you survive a cardiac arrest

Cardiac arrest: first aid saves lives

Status: December 21, 2020 8:59 p.m.

Only ten percent of those affected survive a cardiac arrest. It could be more, but relatives or passers-by often do not dare to give first aid.

Doctors fear that fewer people than usual could currently help - for fear of contracting the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus during resuscitation. In cardiac arrest, only chest compressions can increase the chance of survival and prevent permanent damage to the brain.

Brain cells die after three minutes of cardiac arrest

In cardiac arrest, first aid can mean the difference between life and death.

When the heart stops, brain cells die. Permanent damage to the brain can occur after just three minutes without oxygen. It takes an average of eight minutes for an emergency doctor to arrive on site. It is therefore important to start chest compressions immediately and continue doing it until the emergency doctor arrives.

Apply chest compressions correctly

Check, call, press is the first aid rule for cardiac arrest:

  • Check: Does the unconscious person still react? Is she breathing? In order not to take an unnecessary risk of infection, the helper observes or feels whether the person's chest is rising and falling. Contact with the person's mouth and nose is not necessary.
  • Call: Dial 112 or ask someone to do it.
  • To press: Place one hand on the center of the chest between the nipples. Put the other hand over it and cross both hands. Then start pushing - at least five centimeters deep, strong and at least 100 times per minute in a steady rhythm, roughly to the beat of the Bee Gees 'disco song "Stayin' Alive".

Ventilation is of secondary importance

Ventilation is secondary to resuscitation and is not recommended during the corona pandemic. It is important that the oxygen in the blood reaches the brain through chest compressions so that it can be supplied with oxygen until the ambulance service arrives. No infectious aerosols are expected to develop, which could lead to a risk of infection. If you want to protect yourself optimally, you can wear your mask during resuscitation and place a light cloth over the mouth of the unconscious

Don't be afraid of chest compressions

Chest compressions are also possible for the inexperienced: if you press too hard, you can break the affected person's ribs, but they will heal again. It is important not to stop until the emergency services arrive. If you are unsure, you can get help with first aid by calling the emergency number.

First aid: brush up on knowledge in courses

Most people have had a first aid course a long time ago. However, it is recommended to refresh it every five years. Numerous providers such as the German Red Cross, the Johanniter, the Malteser Hilfsdienst and the Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund offer refresher courses. A first aid course usually lasts one day.

Volunteers support the rescue service

In the district of Stade, volunteers from the local fire brigade are also alerted in the event of a cardiovascular arrest, and they can often be on the scene much faster than the rescue service. The volunteers of the so-called AED groups are regularly trained in first aid and can support people in need until the rescue service is on site.

Electric shock will be triggered automatically

The name of the AED groups stands for the Automated External Defibrillator, or AED for short, that the volunteers bring with them. The easy-to-use device supports resuscitation by first analyzing the patient's heart rhythm using the glued-on electrodes. If it detects a cardiac arrhythmia such as fibrillation that can be stopped by an electric shock, it automatically triggers such a shock. This brings the heart to a complete standstill, whereupon in most cases it starts beating again on its own.

First aid apps in many German cities

In many German cities, the rescue services also work with apps that are supposed to direct first aiders to people in need as quickly as possible. People with medical training can register. If an emergency call is received at the control center and it is probably a cardiac arrest, registered first aiders in the vicinity are alerted. Ideally, they will be there in front of the ambulance and can begin with chest compressions.

The system is still under construction. But in L├╝beck, for example, in ten percent of all cases, mobile first aiders were on site in front of the paramedics.

Experts on the subject

Priv.-Doz. Dr. med. Sebastian A. Philipp, chief physician
Clinic for Internal Medicine - Cardiology and Intensive Care Medicine
Elbe clinics in Stade
Bremerv├Ârder Strasse 111
21682 Stade
www.elbekliniken.de

Ronald Ortgies, paramedic
Fire and rescue control center in the Stade district
On the sand 2
21682 Stade
www.landkreis-stade.de

Information from the German Red Cross on resuscitation
www.drk.de

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