Cardiac arrest can strike without warning
Do you suspect that someone is experiencing cardiac arrest? Here are the signs:
- Sudden loss of responsiveness The person doesn’t respond, even if you tap him or her hard on the shoulders, or ask loudly if he or she is OK. The person doesn’t move, speak, blink or otherwise react.
- No normal breathing The person isn’t breathing or is only gasping for air.
What to do
If you have tried and failed to get the person to respond, and you think the person may be suffering cardiac arrest, here’s what to do:
- Yell for help Tell someone nearby to call 911 or your emergency response number. Ask that person or another bystander to bring you an AED (automated external defibrillator), if there’s one on hand. Tell them to hurry – time is of the essence.
- If you’re alone with an adult who has these signs of cardiac arrest, call 911 and get an AED (if one is available).
- Check breathing If the person isn’t breathing or is only gasping, administer CPR.
- Give CPR: Push hard and fast Push down at least two inches at a rate of 100 to 120 pushes a minute in the center of the chest, allowing the chest to come back up to its normal position after each push.
- Use an AED Use the automated external defibrillator as soon as it arrives. Turn it on and follow the prompts.
- Keep pushing Continue administering CPR until the person starts to breathe or move, or until someone with more advanced training takes over, such as an EMS team member.
- Learn why the American Heart Association does not endorse “cough CPR,” a coughing procedure widely publicized on the Internet.