How it works and how it saves lives
The heart is a beautiful blend of simplicity and complexity. On the surface, pumping blood is a two-step “blood in, blood out” procedure, yet there is an incredibly complex machine that makes it happen. This description also applies to the system of care (SOC) that revolves around treating a cardiac event. It’s the singular goal to get an irregular heart back in working order, but there are numerous actions and skill levels involved in the process.
The SOC for heart issues can be broken into four main parts: The witnessing and reporting of an event to 911 – as well as onsite CPR or AED intervention – the arrival of emergency medical services (EMS), admittance to a primary care facility, and the recuperative stage (which may involve a further care facility). Like the heart itself, every part must work efficiently and harmoniously, from concerned and proactive bystanders to fully-trained response teams and doctors, nurses, and counselors.
SOC Stage 1
Notification and intervention from a bystander is where the SOC begins. It could be a family member, friend, co-worker, or stranger who makes the call to 911 and ideally starts CPR, but it will usually be a family member since the vast majority of heart issues occur at home. Alerting 911 is an essential act, and so is initiating CPR and using an AED, if one is available. It’s these latter, initial responses to a cardiac event that could be improved greatly.
Only 30% of Americans have effective CPR training. With the right classes, that’s not a statistic that needs to stay that way, however. A well-trained bystander can double or triple the chances of an individual surviving a cardiac emergency.
SOC Stage 2
Emergency medical services are up next. Their role is to provide medical assistance outside of a hospital environment. Highly-trained and experienced, the EMS team will keep a clear head and do everything possible to aid a patient before and during transport to a hospital. They’ll be able to assess any breathing or circulatory problems, provide oxygen and medication, and, in more serious cases, restart a patient’s heart. This is often achieved through EMS training in the use of AEDs (automated external defibrilators).
SOC Stage 3
Cardiac issues vary in their intensity and so the length of Stage 3, the hospital stay, varies. There will be a significant number of tests upon arrival at the hospital to get to the root of the problem and assess which medications will be effective in treating it. If surgery is required, this will of course require an extended stay and monitoring of a patient’s condition. One of the first questions every patient asks is when they can go home. On average, successful heart attack patients will spend from a day up to a week in the hospital, followed by a variable period of weeks to a few months before a return to a normal level of activity.
SOC Stage 4
Stage 4 is recuperation, and this is where the patients themselves become an invaluable member of the SOC. By this point, they will have been informed of the causes and effects of their cardiac incident. Their doctor will prescribe any necessary medication and advise on lifestyle changes which may be required. It’s how the patient chooses to adopt these recommendations that will truly define how effective stage 4 is, and arguably the entire SOC. Sadly, many Americans are readmitted within a month of a heart attack.
If patients choose to become a proactive part of the system, they’ll likely make dietary changes that will encourage cardiac and overall body health. This common-sense menu contains plenty of vegetables and fruits, low fat dairy products, skinless fish and poultry, and unsalted, lower saturated fat options across the board.
In some cases, a patient will be required to undertake cardiac rehab (CR). CR can take place both as an inpatient and an outpatient. Patients will keep in touch with a cardiologist and receive further education on their condition, ways to avoid repeat incidents, and counseling on dealing with the stresses and fears that can follow a cardiac issue. It can be a difficult period, but the cardiac rehab and the entire SOC can bring a patient back to health.
One Beat CPR is Florida’s leading CPR training center. A family-owned business with over 12 years of experience, we offer qualified instructional courses and the lowest AED and accessory prices in the industry. To learn more about our passion for life, you can call us at 954 321 5305 or toll free at 855 663 2328, or get in touch via our contact form.