Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Where to have Cardiac Arrest

Are your chances of survival after cardiac arrest better:
a) At a hospital
b) At a casino in Las Vegas
You are less likely to survive cardiac arrest at a hospital.
Cardiac arrest is different from a heart attack.
A heart attack is similar to a plumbing issue: the arteries to the heart get blocked and the heart cannot get enough blood. Symptom can include chest pain, difficulty breathing, sweating, nausea, feeling of doom. Damage from the heart attack can leave scarring, which then makes cardiac arrest more likely.

Cardiac arrest is similar to an electrical problem, with a malfunction in the heart’s electrical system. The heart stops beating suddenly and it stops pumping blood effectively. The person usually collapses within ten seconds and becomes unresponsive. About 350,000 people a year die of cardiac arrest; the survival rate is 5%.

Symptoms of cardiac arrest include:

-- Collapse
-- Loss of consciousness
-- Loss of breathing
-- No blood pressure
-- Absent Pulse

Ten years ago, Richard Hardman, a paramedic in Las Vegas, helped start a program to put automatic external defibrillators (AED’s) in casinos. The survival rate in casinos from sudden cardiac arrest is now 53%; so far 1800 people have been saved.

Casinos respond more quickly to cardiac arrest than hospitals. (It helps that there is continuous closed circuit TV monitoring in casinos.) If you can get defibrillation within two minutes of cardiac arrest, your chances of survival are double (40%), compared to 22% if you don’t. About thirty percent of the time hospitals took longer than two minutes to administer defibrillation.

I have a AED at home after my heart attack, but realize I don’t know anything about where AED’s are in my community of Fairbanks, or how the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital does in dealing with sudden cardiac arrest.

News Articles

Youtube Sites about Cardiac Arrest

Cook suffers cardiac arrest on live TV

First person account

Heart cart program in Canada

Why AED’s should be available in all schools

AED rescue simulation
AED demonstration