Ventricular fibrillation is Life-threatening


Ventricular fibrillation (v-fib for short) is the most serious cardiac rhythm disturbance. The lower chambers quiver and the heart can’t pump any blood, causing cardiac arrest.

How it works

The heart’s electrical activity becomes disordered. When this happens, the heart’s lower (pumping) chambers contract in a rapid, unsynchronized way. (The ventricles “flutter” rather than beat.) The heart pumps little or no blood. Collapse and sudden cardiac arrest follows — this is a medical emergency!

Signs of cardiac arrest

  • Sudden loss of responsiveness (no response to tapping on shoulders)
  • No normal breathing (the victim does not take a normal breath when you tilt the head up and check for at least five seconds)
  • This is sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) — which requires immediate medical help (CPR and defibrillation)!

Treatment for cardiac arrest caused by ventricular fibrillation

  1. Ventricular fibrillation can be stopped with a defibrillator, which gives an electrical shock to the heart. If you see someone experiencing the signs of cardiac arrest:
  2. Tell someone to call 9-1-1 and get an automated external defibrillator (AED) if one is available. You begin CPR immediately.
  3. If you are alone with an adult who has these signs of cardiac arrest, call 9-1-1 and get an AED (if one is available) before you begin CPR.
  4. Use an AED as soon as it arrives.
  5. Continue CPR until trained emergency medical help arrives.

via Ventricular Fibrillation.

February is American Heart Month

HeartMonthHeart disease is a major problem. Every year, about 715,000 Americans have a heart attack. About 600,000 people die from heart disease in the United States each year—that’s 1 out of every 4 deaths. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.

The five major symptoms of a heart attack are:

  • Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back.
  • Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint.
  • Chest pain or discomfort.
  • Pain or discomfort in arms or shoulder.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • If you think that you or someone you know is having a heart attack, call 9–1–1 immediately.

via CDC Features – February is American Heart Month.

5 Facts about CPR and AEDs

cpr-and-aedHere are five facts about AEDs and CPR :

1. CPR will not restart a heart. Instead, it manually pumps blood through the heart and enables oxygen to reach the brain. This is absolutely vital for someone experiencing cardiac arrest. According to the America Heart Association, if CPR is administered immediately, it doubles or even triples the victim’s rate of survival.

2. CPR is hard work. Pushing hard on the victim’s chest (at a depth of about 2 inches) at a rate of 100 compressions per minute can quickly become exhausting. If another person is available to help give CPR, you should switch out every 2 minutes.

3. Both CPR and AEDs are safe. It’s unlikely you’ll hurt someone by performing CPR. And because CPR is so critical in the first minutes someone experiences cardiac arrest, you should administer this life-saving action even if you’re not absolutely sure whether the victim is breathing or has a heartbeat. Good Samaritan laws also should protect you even if an unlikely injury does occur.

4.An AED will administer a shock for two types of abnormal heart rhythms: ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation. These are fatal arrhythmias. While they have a high likelihood of being corrected by an AED, they also may recur, which is why it’s important to leave an AED on (while continuing to administer CPR) until emergencies services arrive.

5. AEDs are so easy a third-grader can use one – literally. According to an expert, when third graders were presented with AEDs and asked to use them, they were able to do so correctly. An AED will talk you through each step and determine whether or not a shock is needed. It’s that easy.

via Life Saver: 5 Facts about CPR and AEDs | EHS Today | Health content from EHS Today.

What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest

CPR-compressions1-300x300Sudden cardiac arrest is the sudden, unexpected loss of heart function, breathing and consciousness. Sudden cardiac arrest usually results from an electrical disturbance in your heart that disrupts its pumping action, stopping blood flow to the rest of your body.

Sudden cardiac arrest is different from a heart attack, which occurs when blood flow to a portion of the heart is blocked. However, a heart attack can sometimes trigger an electrical disturbance that leads to sudden cardiac arrest.

Sudden cardiac arrest is a medical emergency. If not treated immediately, it causes sudden cardiac death. With fast, appropriate medical care, survival is possible. Administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) — or even just compressions to the chest — can improve the chances of survival until emergency personnel arrive.

via Sudden cardiac arrest –

Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs)


Approximately 890 deaths from coronary heart disease occur outside of the hospital or emergency room every day. Most of these deaths are due to the sudden loss of heart function or sudden cardiac death.1 In 2001 and 2002, there were 6628 workplace fatalities reported to OSHA; 1216 from heart attack, 354 from electric shock, and 267 from asphyxia. A number of these victims, up to 60 percent, might have been saved if automated external defibrillators (AEDs) were immediately available. Chances of survival from sudden cardiac death diminish by 7 – 10 percent for each minute without immediate CPR or defibrillation. After 10 minutes, resuscitation rarely succeeds. An AED is an electronic device designed to deliver an electric shock to a victim of sudden cardiac arrest. Ventricular fibrillation may be restored to normal rhythm up to 60 percent of the time if treated promptly with an AED, a procedure called defibrillation.

via Safety and Health Topics | Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs).

Signs of Heart Disease

coronary-heart-disease-symptomsEarly heart disease often doesn’t have symptoms; that’s why regular checkups with a healthcare provider are important. Your doctor will check things like cholesterol, a fat that can add to plaques in your arteries, and your blood pressure. He might also do a blood test for CRP (c-reactive protein). You might also have an ECG or EKG, an electrocardiogram. This is a test that looks at electrical activity in your heart.

Everyone should know the outward warning signs of heart disease. Chest pain should be taken seriously. Pain in the chest, shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back can be a symptom of heart disease. If you have heart disease, you might feel chest pain during physical activity. But, it can have other causes too, so it is important to check with your doctor to learn what is triggering yours.

Heart Attack? Call 9-1-1 Act in time: Learn the warning signs of a heart attack. If you or someone you know might be having a heart attack, call 9-1-1 right away. You need to take an ambulance to the hospital as soon as possible. Do not try to drive yourself, and do not have someone else drive you unless there is no ambulance service where you live. These warning signs can include crushing chest pain and/or discomfort or pain elsewhere in the upper body, nausea, a cold sweat, fainting or lightheadedness, or shortness of breath.

Other signs of heart disease include a weak or numb feeling on one side of the face or body, dizziness, headache, shortness of breath, tiredness, and swelling in the ankles, feet, legs, stomach, and neck. Some people who have a problem with their heartbeat may report a fluttering in their chest or the feeling that their heart is skipping a beat or beating too hard.

Talk to your doctor if you have any of these signs. Your healthcare provider may want you to see someone who specializes in heart disease. This doctor is called a cardiologist.

via Heart Health | National Institute on Aging.

Automated External Defibrillators AED Save Lives

aed_kitSudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Over 350,000 people will suffer from sudden cardiac arrest this year . It can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere and at any age. An AED is the only effective treatment for restoring a regular heart rhythm during sudden cardiac arrest and is an easy to operate tool for someone with no medical background.

Time is of the essence:

  • The average response time for first responders once 911 is called is 8-12 minutes.
  • For each minute defibrillation is delayed, the chance of survival is reduced approximately 10%.

via Learn about Automated Defibrillators | American Red Cross | AED.

What Is Heart Disease?

Bring up heart disease, and most people think of a heart attack. But there are many conditions that can undermine the heart’s ability to do its job. These include coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, arrhythmia, and heart failure. Keep reading to find out what these disorders do to the body and how to recognize the warning signs.

via Heart Disease Pictures Slideshow: A Visual Guide to Heart Disease on

Women and Heart Disease Prevention

Wear-Red-TodayWear red in February for American Heart Month and National Wear Red Day (the first Friday in February) to help raise awareness about heart disease, but don’t stop there. Make sure you know the signs of a heart attack, ask your doctor questions about heart health, and learn how to lower your risk for heart disease.

Having high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol, smoking, and having had a previous heart attack, stroke, or diabetes can increase your chances of having a heart attack.

via CDC – Women’s Health – Women and Heart Disease Prevention.