If someone’s heart suddenly stops, every second counts. They need chest compressions right away, and, if possible, you should use a defibrillator to help. This guide will prepare you for an emergency.
Each year, about 8,000 people go into cardiac arrest. Only around 5 per cent survive it outside of hospital. You can improve the unconscious person’s chances of survival by immediately calling emergency services and resuscitating them. Chest compressions are the most important first aid measure in this instance.
A cardiac arrest can happen without warning. Often, however, a heart attack or cardiac arrhythmia can precede cardiac arrest. Do you know the symptoms of a heart attack? Read our blog post to find out.
As a partner of the Swiss Red Cross, Helsana is committed to ensuring that as many people as possible can perform first aid at any time. For customers who have COMPLETA outpatient supplementary insurance, Helsana now covers 75% or a maximum of CHF 200 per calendar year of the cost of selected courses run by the Samaritans Switzerland, a Swiss Red Cross rescue organisation.
If the person isn’t responding, isn’t breathing or isn’t breathing normally, their heart or circulation may have stopped. Act fast! Call for help immediately.
Untrained bystanders should not perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. They’ll lose too much time and won’t have enough of an effect. It’s better to focus fully on chest compressions. With chest compressions, the remaining oxygen in the blood can circulate and keep supplying the brain for a while.
Trained first aiders alternate between chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth (or mouth-to-nose) resuscitation. With CPR, apply the 30:2 rule: alternate between 30 chest compressions followed by 2 rescue breaths.
If several first aiders are nearby, after the emergency call, one person should get the defibrillator while the others perform chest compressions.
AED is an acronym for automated external defibrillator. It is a medical device for resuscitating a person whose heart has stopped (cardiac arrhythmia, cardiac arrest). It can’t harm them: the defibrillator analyses whether a shock is actually needed. A defibrillator can also be used to resuscitate children over eight years of age or from 25 kg. Some defibrillators have special electrodes for younger children. Follow the instructions on the AED.
For chest compressions on small children, only use the heel of one hand, and for babies, two fingers. The compression depth is one third of the chest diameter.
Beat Brunner works as the head of «Education and Volunteer Management» at the Samaritans Switzerland – a rescue organisation of the Swiss Red Cross. In his position as a first aid training expert, he trains lay people from a wide variety of backgrounds. He regularly provides first aid services in organisations and at events. André Roggli gave the editorial team advice and input for this article.
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