Protecting Children and Youth from Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Emergency Response to Sudden Cardiac Arrest
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Cardiac Chain of Survival
If you search the internet, you will find many variations of the "Cardiac Chain of Survival". All variations will include: Early Access, CPR, Defibrillation, and ACLS. We have chosen to show this variation, as provided by Zoll Medical Corporation, because it includes two additional critical aspects of the Chain; early interventions and post resuscitation care. Each of the segments of the Chain of Survival are discussed below.
Early Intervention - means action by any or all people local to the scene of the SCA. This does not mean waiting for a trained person to repsond. In the United States, presently, early intervention is not adequate.
(Early) Access - means that bystanders or first responders (not necessarily EMTs) immediately call 911 and accurately report the SCA.
CPR - means bystanders or first first repsonders (not necessarily EMTs) begin Cardio-Pulmonary Rescusitation. This is the 50 year anniversary for the introduction of CPR. CPR is a valuable tool, but by itself, CPR will save very few lives. CPR is used to keep a person alive until defibrillation occurs. To learn about the "new CPR", review the section below.
Defibrillation - is the treatment of the arrhythmias most commonly associated with sudden cardiac arrest by delivering an electrical shock to the heart. To learn about Automated External Defibrillators (AED), review the section below.
ACLS - means early access to Advance Care Life Support. ACLS is the response of highly trained and equipped pre-hospital EMS personnel (paramedics) who can respond to the patient and provide for the administration of drugs, advanced airway procedures, and other interventions and protocols, prior to the arrival of the patient at an advanced care facility.
Post Rescusitation Care - means treatment at a hospital.
Why is the Chain of Survival Important?
If you are unfamiliar with emergency response, you may ask, why is the best practices chain of survival important? You may ask, why not call 911 and wait for EMS to arrive? The answer is simply stated, becuase the patient will die before EMS arrive. EMS will respond as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, on average, EMS will arrive in 8-12 minutes. Response with defibrillation must be accomplished with in 3-5 minutes to provide the patient with a better than a 50-50 chance of survival. As the chart below shows, for every minute that passes, the patient has 10% less chance of survival.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest - What would you do? Please use this link to test yourself. SCA - What will you do?
As stated on the "What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?" page, SCA in youth often occurs without symptoms. In any situation, when a SCA occurs immediate response is needed to save a person's life. Best practices of emergency response are called the Cardiac Chain of Survival.