Cardiac Arrest FAQ


What is a cardiac arrest?

A cardiac arrest is caused by an electrical problem in the heart. This electrical problem causes the heart to stop pumping blood around the body and to the brain.

It causes the person to fall unconscious and stop breathing. Without CPR the person will die within minutes.

CPR should only be used if someone is:

  • unconscious and not breathing
  • unconscious and not breathing normally.

What is CPR?

CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It’s a life saving medical procedure which is given to someone who is in cardiac arrest. It helps to pump blood around the person’s body when their heart can’t.

Hands Only CPR?

When somebody collapses in front of you, what do you do?

  1. Check the person over. If they are not responsive and not breathing normally, then their heart has stopped working and they are having a cardiac arrest.
  2. Now, call 999. Then you do Hands-only CPR.
  3. Do not put your face close to theirs. If you think there’s risk of infection, use a towel or a piece of clothing and lay it over their mouth and nose.
  4. Put one hand on top of the other, interlinking your fingers. Your hand on the bottom should have the fingers open. Lock your fingers together, knuckles up. Then push down, in the middle of the chest right on the sovereign. Push down five or six centimetres. That’s about two inches. Push hard and fast about two times a second, like to the beat of Stayin’ Alive. Don’t worry about hurting someone. A cracked rib can be mended –just concentrate on saving a life.
  5. Keep this up until the ambulance arrives.
  6. After the ambulance have taken over wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use an alcohol based hand gel.

So don’t forget. Check them over. Call 999. Push hard and fast to Stayin’ Alive. It works.

Hands-only CPR. It’s not as hard as it looks.

How long should I continue CPR?

Always call 999 before starting CPR. Then keep doing CPR until professional help arrives and takes over, or the person starts to show signs of regaining consciousness. If you become exhausted, take turns with other people nearby.

Signs of regaining consciousness include:

  • coughing
  • opening their eyes
  • speaking or moving purposefully
  • starting to breathe normally.

Stop CPR if the person regains consciousness. If the person starts to breathe normally but still unconscious, put them into the recovery position and pay attention to their breathing until help arrives.

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