Cardiac Arrest

One of the great things about hearts is that we don’t think about them most of the time!

They get on with pumping blood around the body whilst we get on with other things!

logosw

However, there are warning signs we should never ignore that tells us if something’s wrong.

What sort of signs?

Feeling tired and out of breath is one important sign.

climbvsrun1If you or someone you know is normally energetic but starts to feel like they’ve run a marathon when they’ve only climbed the stairs, that can be a sign that their heart is struggling.

Of course, getting out of breath and feeling tired are part of life but if it’s different to how you normally feel and doesn’t seem to get better, then that’s a clue.

Feeling sick and dizzy is another way you might feel if your heart is unhappy.

Of course lots of things can make you feel sick and dizzy but when it’s related to heart problems, it’s caused by a lack of oxygen getting to your brain.

Another sign is tightness and pains in the chest, arms, neck and jaw.

This is a very important warning sign and if anyone you know suddenly feels this way, they should call 999 straight away. It can be the sign of a heart attack.

What should you do in an emergency?

PhoneIf an emergency happens or someone becomes very sick while you’re around, do your best to stay calm.

First, try to get the person to respond by gently shaking his or her shoulder and asking “Are you OK?” If there’s no response and if you’re alone, shout for help or call 999 yourself.

If you don’t normally use a mobile phone, why not have a few practice runs – although don’t practise using 999.  Sometimes you have to press certain buttons before you can dial numbers. Once you’ve dialled the number, an operator will speak to you.

Another tip is that they’ll need to know your address because it’ll help the ambulance find you.  If you are somewhere you don’t know, don’t worry, stay calm and they will help you.

How will the paramedics help?

If someone’s had a cardiac arrest there are sometimes ways to get the heart beating again.

CPR-classSometimes machines can give the heart a shock which will make it start to beat again.

Other times CPR is used.  You might have seen people performing CPR on the telly – it’s when someone breathes into the mouth of a person and pushes down on their chest.

People who handle emergencies – such as police officers, firefighters, paramedics, doctors and nurses – are all trained to do CPR.  It’s something you can learn to do yourself, when you’re old enough.

> Visit the Heart Beat homepage
> Download the free Heart Beat podcast from iTunes

Professor Hallux’s Heart Beat funding thanks to a Heart Research UK healthy heart grant!