cardiac arrest happens when your heart stops pumping blood around
If you have a cardiac arrest, you lose consciousness almost at
There are also no other signs of life such as breathing or
This is an emergency and if you witness a cardiac arrest
you should call 999 immediately.
What is the difference between a heart attack and cardiac
A cardiac arrest is different from a heart attack.
- Most heart attacks are caused by coronary heart disease.
- If you have a heart attack, it does not
always lead to a cardiac arrest.
- A cardiac arrest does not always happen because you have a
If you witness a cardiac arrest, you can
increase the person’s chances of survival by phoning 999 and giving
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
starts cardiopulmonary resuscitation
(CPR) the person may suffer permanent damage to the brain and other
- chest compression (pumping the heart by external cardiac
massage), to keep the circulation going until the ambulance arrives
- rescue breathing (inflating the lungs by using mouth-to-mouth
Ambulance staff are trained in advanced resuscitation and all
emergency ambulances carry a defibrillator.
What causes a cardiac arrest?
The most common cause of a cardiac
arrest is a life threatening abnormal heart rhythm called
ventricular fibrillation (VF).
Ventricular fibrillation occurs when the electrical activity of
the heart becomes so chaotic that the heart stops pumping and
quivers or 'fibrillates' instead. There are various causes of
VF. These include heart-related problems, such as:
VF can also happen if:
- there is a lack of oxygen in your body - for example, if you
- you are electrocuted
- you have used recreational drugs, such as cocaine or
- you lose a large amount of blood
VF can sometimes be corrected by giving an electric shock
through the chest wall, using a device called a
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