The Chain of Survival

The Chain of Survival.metal chain

Nobody goes into work with the expectation of one of your colleagues suffering a sudden cardiac arrest.

Sadly, these  occur too often, and how you react, when it does, can make that difference to their chances of survival.

Maybe, as the result of an accident or illness, Sudden Cardiac Arrest, (SCA) is indiscriminate and can affect any of us, at any time.

Early recognition

Early recognition is essential for a successful outcome.

Suffering a sudden cardiac arrest means, every minute that passes reduces your chance of survival by ten percent.

Checking their response level and opening their airway to check for breathing is the first thing you do.

If they don’t respond and are not breathing normally, don’t hesitate, call 999 or 112 for an ambulance

In the UK  an ambulance usually arrives in about 8 minutes, however, demand can increase that.

So ultimately, without immediate intervention, survival chances will be less than 20 percent by the time they arrive.

Early resuscitation

Once you’ve assessed that they’re not responding and not breathing, start Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) immediately.

Start with 30 chest compressions at a speed of 100 to 120 per minute, and about 5cm in depth, followed by 2 rescue breaths.

By maintaining circulation of oxygen rich blood, the chances of significant brain damage are reduced.

Early defibrillation

CPR given with AED attached

The third link of the chain is early defibrillation using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

During a cardiac arrest your heart vibrates instead of pumping rhythmically and effectively.

By shocking it the heart stops, therefore, allowing it to effectively “reboot” into a normal rhythm.

Having an AED close at hand improves your survival chance, from 5% with CPR alone, to a convincing 75%.

And for those people fearful of doing harm with an AED , you really can’t.

Early professional care

Above all getting medical help, and being quickly transported to hospital, is essential.

No matter how good the immediate care at the scene, you will need professional medical care,and the sooner the better.

By understanding these links, you will be more confident to do something in the event of a cardiac arrest.

Above all, you will be giving your casualty the best possibility of a good outcome.