eWellness: How to recognize cardiac arrest


Dr KK Aggarwal    02 March 2018

  1. Rapid recognition of cardiac arrest is the essential first step of successful CPR 10.
  2. As per guidelines, the lay rescuer who witnesses a person collapse or comes across an apparently unresponsive person should confirm unresponsiveness by tapping the person on the shoulder and shouting: "are you all right?"
  3. If the person does not respond, the rescuer should call for help or ambulance and initiate excellent chest compressions.
  4. Lay rescuers should not attempt to assess the victim’s pulse and, unless the patient has what appear to be normal respirations, should assume the patient is apneic or without respiration.
  5. Remember even well–trained professionals can have difficulty determining if breathing is adequate or pulses are present in unresponsive adults.
  6. After assessing responsiveness, health care providers should quickly check the patient’s pulse.
  7. While doing so, it is reasonable to visually assess the patient’s respirations.
  8. It is appropriate to assume the patient is in cardiac arrest if there is no breathing or abnormal breathing (gasping) or if a pulse cannot be readily palpated within 10 seconds.
  9. The key point is not to delay CPR.

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