- Approximately 715,000 heart attacks occur in the United States every year.
- Heart attacks are a leading cause of death for Americans.
- More than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of a hospital setting each year in the United States.
- More than 70% of these happen at home, making it critical that people are educated and prepared in case a loved one goes into cardiac arrest.
- About 90% of people who had an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest will die; however, their chances of survival can double or triple if they receive help within the first few minutes of an attack.
Heart Attack vs. Cardiac Arrest – What’s the Difference?
Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating. A heart attack is a problem with circulation where a blood flow to the heart is blocked, but the heart does not stop beating. Both are very severe and can result in death if not treated immediately.
What are the Symptoms?
When a person has a heart attack, they will experience pain in their left arm, upper body, and chest. They will likely feel short of breath, break into cold sweats, jaw pain, and experience nausea or vomiting. Sometimes these symptoms are mild at their onset and can persist for up to several days until the actual heart attack happens.
During a cardiac arrest, a person will suddenly collapse and become unresponsive, while a heart attack victim typically remains conscious.
What are the Steps to Save a Life?
For either a heart attack or cardiac arrest, rescuers should immediately call 911 and report the symptoms to the operator. They must check the victim for a pulse. If there is no pulse and the victim is unresponsive, they are likely experiencing a cardiac arrest which requires immediate Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and the use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) if possible. The 911 operator will walk you through the steps if you have not completed CPR AED training.
With a heart attack, the victim will have a pulse and will be conscious. The 911 operator will advise you to give the victim aspirin if it’s available to prevent blood clotting. While waiting for an ambulance to arrive, rescuers should loosen the victim’s clothing and assist them in sitting or lying down.
With either a heart attack or sudden cardiac arrest, the most important step is calling 911 immediately, even if you are uncertain that a person is having a heart attack. Every minute counts in a victim’s survival, so fast action in getting help is critical.
How to Learn Life-Saving Skills
Being educated and acting quickly are the key factors in improving a victim’s survival rate. While a 911 operator can guide you through the steps you need to help a victim, it’s highly recommended that you complete CPR training so you can perform rescue measures with confidence.
Completing a CPR certification course will cover everything you need to know to save a life in a heart attack or sudden cardiac arrest emergency. Online CPR courses are an excellent option for busy Americans who want to learn CPR skills at their own pace, at their convenience from the comfort of home or their office.
To complete our online CPR training, you must purchase the class you wish to take and follow the prompts to login and begin your course. Once you have studied the course material, you can take the certification exam. There is no time limit on the exam, and you are free to retake it as many times as you need to receive a passing grade of 80%. Once you’ve passed the exam, you will receive a CPR certification card that is recognized across the United States, follows the most recent CPR guidelines, and is valid for two years.
CPR training doesn’t take a lot of time to complete, but the benefits are priceless. Being able to save a person’s life when they experience a heart attack or sudden cardiac arrest is a critical skill that every American should have, so they can become a rescuer in either of these emergency situations. Proper training and certification are the best way to ensure you have the correct education and full understanding of the steps needed to save a life.