Sudden cardiac arrest, as we know, is cessation of activity of the heart, which can be revived after resuscitation. Sudden cardiac death, on the other hand, is unsuccessful sudden cardiac arrest.
A sudden cardiac arrest can be revived with prompt chest compression CPR and defibrillation. This will also prevent sudden cardiac death.
A sudden cardiac arrest may not be as sudden as the name might suggest. Most victims of sudden cardiac arrest have tell-tale warning signs preceding the cardiac attack such as chest pain and pressure, shortness of breath, heart palpitations and/or flu-like symptoms (such as nausea, back pain and/or abdominal pain).
Out of hospital cardiac arrests are common. And, in such cases, the chances of survival are much higher in a witnessed cardiac arrest, if basic hands-only CPR is done by the bystanders immediately at the very onset. The chances of survival decrease by 7-10% with each minute delay from the time of the cardiac arrest.
Easy and quick access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs) can mean life and death for the victim of sudden cardiac arrest.
All public places and public functions should mandatorily be equipped with AEDs. Paramedics and general public should be trained in “Hands-only CPR and in the use of AEDs to prevent sudden deaths due to cardiac arrest. AEDs can be safely and effectively used in such cases.
I know of few cases where deaths occurred in the morning during or after walking.
· A senior doctor died early in the morning due to acute myocardial infarction (MI) after a walk. He had some premonitory symptoms the evening before. He had talked to his colleague and said that maybe he would not survive for long.
· Another senior cardiologist died a few years back while jogging. He was a smoker. His treadmill test, done a day before, was negative.
· An elderly coronary artery disease (CAD) patient died on the walking track a few years ago.
Early morning, winter season, missing the morning dose/s, early cup of tea, smoking are all risk factors in heart patients or high risk patients. These deaths could have been prevented had an AED and a CPR trained paramedical or a trained non medical person been available.
Commercial swimming pools have trained lifeguards. Then why shouldn’t public places like walking tracks, gyms have CPR trained paramedics and access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs) or life saving drugs.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this write up are entirely my own.