Cardiac arrest is an emergency medical situation in which a person’s heart stops beating entirely. If this occurs, blood circulation stops — and with it, the delivery of life-sustaining oxygen to your vital organs, such as the brain. Depending on the cause, it may be possible to prevent an episode of cardiac arrest.
If you, or someone around you, needs cardiac arrest treatment in Central California, call 911 immediately.
What to Do for Cardiac Arrest
If you witness someone collapse from cardiac arrest, you have to take action right away:
- Call 911 and request emergency medical personnel.
- Begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Push hard and fast on the center of the person’s chest — time your compressions to the rhythm of the song “Stayin’ Alive.”
- Use an automated external defibrillator (if available) to shock the heart back into a regular rhythm. Many public places, such as schools, sports venues, and shopping malls, make AEDs available for emergency use.
After successful resuscitation from cardiac arrest, the person will need care for the underlying cause of the cardiac episode. Such care may include:
- Medication for heart disease or arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeat or rhythm)
- Lifestyle changes to improve heart health
- Surgery to correct heart valve problems or blocked arteries
- Use of an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) to automatically correct a heart rhythm that becomes irregular
- Drug detoxification, if the cardiac arrest is due to drug abuse or overdose
Care at Dignity Health Central California After Cardiac Arrest
Cardiac arrest can occur suddenly and without warning. If the initial treatment was successful — restarting the heart with CPR — further treatment will be necessary to treat the underlying condition that caused the episode.
Depending on the cause of cardiac arrest, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, medication, or surgical intervention. Be sure to discuss the risks, benefits, and potential side effects of all recommended treatments.
How to Prevent Cardiac Arrest
In many cases, cardiac arrest can be prevented by treating the underlying medical condition. One way to catch an unknown heart condition is to have an annual check-up with your family doctor. Oftentimes, your doctor can spot the early signs of heart disease by observation or with a regular blood test.
If you want to further reduce your risk for cardiac arrest, consider doing the following:
- Treat and monitor known heart conditions, such as high blood pressure.
- Seek care right away for chest pain, palpitations, or other symptoms of a heart condition.
- Do not use illicit drugs.
- Engage in a heart-healthy lifestyle.
- Discuss all medication you take with your doctor, as some can cause arrhythmias.
- Seek medical clearance before engaging in sports activities.
Do you know your risk for developing a heart condition? Find out by taking Dignity Health’s free heart risk assessment.
Dignity Health Central California provides prompt emergency care, including life-saving cardiac arrest treatment, in Bakersfield, Merced, San Andreas, and Stockton, CA.