Smarter Dummies and Other Tech Tools: What's New in CPR Training Aids on

Smarter Dummies and Other Tech Tools: What’s New in CPR Training Aids

CPR training ads are being equipped with ways to help people learn more efficiently

There’s an app for that. Technology is reaching into all aspects of our lives, including lifesaving training. A new software is available that enables smartphone users to practice CPR, and smart dummies will help trainees learn the technique more precisely.

More than theory

You know the basic moves if you’re familiar with CPR. And if you took training to be certified, you were assisted by experts who observed you and gave you advice on how to correctly apply it. Even so, most of us might still be unsure that we’re doing it right. Research also shows that retaining what we’ve learned starts to decline as soon as three months after training.

Technology can help.

The basics of cardiopulmonary resuscitation teach that correct chest compression is vital. It should be about 2 inches deep, but how do we know if we’re applying too much – or too little – force?

It’s also important that compression rates stay between 100 to 120 per minute, and the amount of time in between each one makes a difference. We’re taught that we should never stop compressions for longer than 10 seconds. How do we know that we’ve got the right rhythm?

The latest training dummies are equipped to measure this. The software tracks your performance, assesses the data, and provides feedback – often in real time. It can measure compression rate and depth, and tell you if you’re not making a complete release from the compression. Some dummies can even measure the amount of air when you apply ventilation.

My cardiac coach

The American Heart Association has a technology hub called the AHA Center for Health Technology and Innovation. They teamed up with Google to develop an augmented reality version of hands-only CPR training.

The project uses Google tech to create a life-like environment for trainees. Users can give a virtual person hands-only CPR any time, any place using their compatible Android mobile device. By delivering compressions at the correct rate and depth in a gaming experience, individuals are rated on their performance and can try to improve their score.

It’s called My Cardiac Coach™ and you can download the app for free. The technology-aided training is available within the overall app, which offers much more. It’s a personalized, digital toolkit that gives you access to:

  • Trustworthy information from the experts at the American Heart Association
  • Interactive lessons to help you learn what you need to know
  • Progress-trackers for monitoring blood pressure and weight
  • Tools for logging physical activity and managing medications
  • Survivors of cardiac events can connect with other survivors through the Support Network

The AHA says its adult CPR courses will be updated in 2019 to make use of even more new technology. It’ll require feedback devices like those mentioned so far. The AHA is making these changes based on a 2015 study on the benefits of emerging technology.

The AHA reports that more than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of a hospital environment. Another 200,000 happen in a hospital setting. Statistics show that only 46% of us who experience cardiac arrest outside of the hospital receive CPR from a bystander until professional help arrives on the scene. Yet performed correctly, CPR can double or triple the chance of survival.

It’s why dummies and other training tools are getting smarter. They’re being upgraded to help more people learn CPR – and perform it better when they use this knowledge to save a life.

One Beat CPR + AED provides American Heart Association CPR and AED training for groups and individuals. For more information or to sign up for a class, call us at 954-321-5305.

Graduate with a Life-Saving Skill on

Graduate with a Life-Saving Skill

Why students should learn CPR, even if their school doesn’t require it

Whether you’ve been out of school for decades or still have some years left before you graduate, almost certainly at one time or another you’ve had this thought during a class: “When are we ever going to use this?”

While school teaches us many important lessons and lots of good information, not everything is relevant to our daily lives. When, for example, was the last time you had to solve an equation outside of algebra class?

This is why when a valuable skill is taught – like CPR – it should be welcomed by everyone. Unfortunately, CPR training is not mandatory in all schools across the country. Right now, it is a graduation requirement in high schools in 38 states and the District of Columbia.

Florida, however, is not included on that list. Two attempts by the legislature in recent years to change this have both failed. But this shouldn’t stop high school (or college) students in Florida from seeking training on their own.

How teens can benefit from CPR training

CPR training is beneficial for everyone, and perhaps teenagers especially because it gives them:

Life-saving ability

According to statistics from the American Heart Association, an average of 475,000 people in the U.S. die from cardiac arrest every year. And about 350,000 of cardiac arrests happen outside of a hospital. This means that the vast majority of people experiencing this trauma rely on bystanders for assistance. The survival rate for victims who get help is around 45 percent. Knowing CPR is the best way to save a life, whether it’s that of a friend, classmate, older family member, or younger sibling.


Even if it is never used, knowing CPR can instill confidence in someone. Understanding what needs to be done in the event of an emergency can help a teen keep a cool head in a crisis.

A skill employers look for

For students looking for an after-school job or summer work, being able to put CPR training on their resume can give them an edge. For lifeguards or anything that involves children, this is a must. Someone seeking a gig babysitting could put a parent’s mind at ease knowing he or she has CPR knowledge. Even for volunteer work – at a nursing home, for example – this is a skill that can come in handy.

Real-life examples

It’s easy to say why it is important for people to learn CPR, but the message really hits home when you see the results. Here are just a few recent examples:

High school senior saves stranger’s life on New York City street

Just a couple weeks after learning CPR at his high school – which is mandatory in New York –

Anthony Rosa Conpres saved the life of a man who collapsed on a street in the Bronx.

Lacrosse player uses CPR to save the life of his teammate

When Colby Clay collapsed after being hit in the chest with a lacrosse ball during practice at his high school in Beaverton, Oregon, teammate Ben Wu’s CPR skills saved his life.

Senior saves senior: High school student uses CPR on an elderly man

High school senior Alex Cowie was working at the Action Fitness Gym in Hillsboro, Missouri, when she saw an older man suddenly collapse. Using the CPR skills she learned in school, she helped save the man’s life. Since CPR training became a requirement in Missouri high schools, this was the third time a student has used CPR to save a life in Hillsboro.

Don’t wait until Florida makes it mandatory in schools

If you’re a student, a parent of a student, or an educator, you should know that regardless of the state laws, CPR training is useful for everyone. At One Beat CPR + AED, our classes are taught by first responders with years of experience. Plus, we can bring the training to you. For more information, please get in touch.

Surely Someone Else Knows What to Do? on

Surely Someone Else Knows What to Do?

Alarming trends on the lack of lifesaving training in the workplace

What would happen if one of your employees needed First Aid? How would your employees react if a co-worker showed signs of a heart attack or worse, went into a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA)? Would they be able to give CPR?

Two recent surveys by the American Heart Association (AHA) suggest that most employees don’t know how to handle a cardiac emergency and have no training in First Aid, CPR or AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators).

The findings led the AHA to launch a new campaign in 2017 to promote awareness of the problem and encourage employers to provide training in these vital skills.

“Such training has the potential to save thousands of lives, considering there are 10,000 cardiac arrests in the workplace annually,” reports Facility Executive.

Key findings in the American Heart Association survey

The AHA survey included over 3,000 employees in a variety of fields, including corporate offices, hospitality, schools, industry/labor, and 1,000 safety managers in industries that are regulated by OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration). Among the findings:

  • More than half (55%) cannot get First Aid or CPR+AED training from their employer. And when employers do offer this training, it’s often either one or the other.
  • Half of all U.S. workers cannot locate the AED at work. In the hospitality industry, that number rises to two-thirds (66%).

Safety managers and OSHA-regulated industries are pushing to have employees offer more frequent training to better prepare their workers to handle emergencies.

“The data suggests these untrained employees may be relying on their untrained peers in the event of an emergency, leaving employees with a false sense of security,” according to the American Heart Association.

How First Aid, CPR, and AEDs save lives

CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is designed to help save lives when someone has stopped breathing or their heart has stopped. It combines breathing into the mouth and chest compressions to keep oxygenated blood flowing to the brain and other organs until help arrives. “CPR can double or triple chances of survival after cardiac arrest,” according to the American Heart Association.

An AED is a device used to help anyone who may be experiencing cardiac arrest (the heart stops beating) or loses its normal rhythm. An AED is “a sophisticated, yet easy-to-use medical device that can analyze the heart’s rhythm and, if necessary, deliver an electrical shock, or defibrillation, to help the heart re-establish an effective rhythm.”

Training employees how to perform CPR or use AEDs is critical because it can – and does – save lives.

According to an OSHA survey…

  • 33% said lives have been saved at home and at the workplace as a result of First Aid, CPR, and AED training provided at work
  • 78% said injuries or medical conditions have been treated in the workplace with this training
  • 73% consider First Aid/CPR/AED training as equally important as other safety training

Sadly, when training is offered in the workplace, it’s often done in response to an incident. By then, it may be too late for someone. The study also showed that younger workers are also less likely to take part in training, which may be due to the mistaken belief that they are at decreased risk. Still, it’s important for workers of all ages to be trained in these techniques since anyone might be called upon to save a life.

Join the movement to provide First Aid, CPR and AED training to your employees. Find out more about the different training options that are available from One Beat CPR + AED.

It Makes Sense at the Office, But Should You Have an AED in Your Home? on

It Makes Sense at the Office, But Should You Have an AED in Your Home?

Learn how this device could save a loved one or even yourself

The American Heart Association (AHA) recently released the latest statistics on out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA), and the numbers are troubling. According to the AHA, more than 356,000 people experience OHCA every year, and about 90 percent of them don’t survive. And the vast majority of these instances – almost 70 percent – take place in a person’s home.

How can the survival rate of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) victims be improved?

One of the key ways to help an SCA victim is by administering CPR and deploying an automated external defibrillator (AED) immediately. Those AHA numbers reveal that the survival rate for people whose heart stopped in a public place is almost 40 percent, and this is almost certainly related to two factors.

First, with the possibility of many people in the area, there is a good chance that at least someone is familiar with CPR. Second, these days, many public places – like offices and airports – have automated external defibrillators on hand. Conversely, the survival rate for someone experiencing SCA at home is less than 28 percent.

The benefits of an AED in your home

AEDs save thousands of lives each year. If there were better access to them even more people could be saved. Research from a recent study found that when a bystander used an AED on an SCA victim, their survival rate increased substantially (66.5 percent versus 43 percent).

AEDs are extremely easy to use

An AED works by analyzing the rhythms of the heart through electrodes. If the rhythms aren’t normal, it sends an electric charge to the heart, which will ideally return the heartbeat to its regular pattern. This may sound kind of complicated, but all AEDs are simple to use. You just put the electrodes on the person, follow the instructions, and the machine takes over.

Training is helpful, but it’s not absolutely necessary

Because AEDs are so user-friendly, you don’t necessarily need training. Unfortunately, many people who have never used an AED often hesitate to do so because of this lack of education. Fortunately, many CPR classes now offer AED instruction, which can help people be more confident and willing to take action in an emergency.

Who should consider adding an AED to their home?

The scary part of SCA is that it is often the first sign of a heart problem, which means someone may not have shown any symptoms beforehand. And while the easy answer to this AED question is “everyone,” there are certain people who should strongly consider getting one, including:

Those with heart conditions

If someone has been diagnosed with certain congenital heart defects, heart disease, or is at risk for heart issues, an AED is strongly advised.

Senior citizens

The average age of someone who suffers a sudden cardiac arrest is 60, so older people can most benefit from having an AED in their home.

Households with at least two people

Clearly, if you are unconscious, you won’t be able to use an AED on yourself, so you will need to get help from someone else in the home.

Want to learn more about AEDs?

At One Beat CPR, our CPR classes include AEDs, so you will get hands-on training in how to use one. Plus, we sell AEDs and can help you figure out which one is right for you. To get more information about everything we offer, feel free to contact us.

The Most Productive Way to Spend Three Hours

The Most Productive Way to Spend Three Hours on

If you’re looking to put those three hours to good use, consider learning to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

Does it surprise you to know you’ll get more than 4.7 billion suggestions from Google if you ask the search engine about things you can do in three hours? Most range from the practical, such as running a marathon and cooking a 14-pound turkey – to the absurdly specific, such as getting coronary bypass surgery to taking a tour aboard the S.S. Minnow.

If you’re looking to put those three hours to good use, consider learning to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The average CPR course takes only about three hours, rewarding you with a lifetime skill that can save lives. Here’s what’s in store for you:

What will I learn?

  • The American Heart Association describes cardiopulmonary resuscitation in plain English as an emergency lifesaving procedure performed when the heart stops beating. Immediate CPR can double or triple chances of survival after cardiac arrest. CPR is important because it helps to keep blood flow active, and this extends the opportunity for a successful resuscitation once trained emergency medical staff to arrive.
  • One thing you’ll discover is a common misunderstanding about CPR. It doesn’t restart a heart after cardiac arrest. The timed compressions to a person’s chest cavity only help to keep blood flow active. To restart a heart after cardiac arrest, you would need an automated external defibrillator (AED), and you’ll learn about these devices during quality training.
  • The course will teach you how to perform CPR on adults, as well as children. You’ll also get insight into why men are also more likely to receive CPR than women – but hopefully, you’ll help to reverse these statistics.The CPR process has to be slightly modified to perform on children below a certain age, and you’ll learn about these variations during the class. Even children themselves can be taught to perform CPR. Recent studies show that children in the sixth grade are capable of using hands-only CPR to save lives.
  • A portion of the class will help you to understand the difference between cardiac arrest and a heart attack. It’s important to know the difference – especially the link between both, and what you should immediately do in each case.

You’ll also learn that, like many lifelong skills, it’s important to review what you’ve learned by taking a CPR recertification class. And, yes, after taking a three-hour CPR course – especially when it’s certified by the American Heart Association – you will be officially certified to perform this life-saving procedure.

Where can I take a CPR course?

The American Heart Association has many authorized training locations throughout the United States, where you can take a course. If you’re interested and have the time, you can learn additional skills as well. For example, you might want to supplement your CPR training with a First Aid course.

This is usually an instructor-led course that teaches you critical skills to respond to and manage an injury in the first few minutes until emergency medical services arrive. You’ll learn the duties and responsibilities, as well as first aid actions for many common medical emergencies such as choking, cuts, broken bones, sprains, insect bites or stings, strokes, and more.

Got three free hours? Use it to become a life-saver! Check here for available course dates and times.

9 Heart Conditions You Probably Haven’t Heard Of

9 Heart Conditions You Probably Haven’t Heard Of on

While the chances of having any of these issues are rare, it’s not impossible

The word “rare” can help calm our inner hypochondriac. Arming yourself with the knowledge of rare diseases can also help individuals recognize the warning signs of an uncommon ailment. Here are 9 heart conditions that most people aren’t aware of:

  1. Tricuspid atresia. While this may sound like a deep-sea creature, it’s actually a very serious condition. The “tricuspid” is a heart valve; tricuspid atresia is when this valve is either missing or deformed.
  2. Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC). ARVC causes fibrofatty replacement in the heart’s right ventricle and in the subepicardial of the left ventricle. Symptoms may include heart palpitations or loss of consciousness and can lead to sudden cardiac arrest.
  3. Kounis syndrome. This is the clinical name for an allergic reaction that causes angina (severe chest pain) or a heart attack. When histamine is released by the body, it can cause spasms in the heart’s blood vessels, restricting blood flow and producing chest pain.
  4. Cardiac syndrome X. While originally identified as “Syndrome X,” today, most cardiologist know it as the more descriptive “microvascular angina.” The condition is characterized by abnormalities in the heart’s micro-arteries that lead to angina.
  5. Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. “A pot used for trapping octopus” – that’s what “takotsubo” means in Japanese. Sometimes referred to as “stress cardiomyopathy” or “broken-heart syndrome,” people suffering from this condition have an abnormally-shaped heart. The syndrome is thought to be a reaction to emotional stress and can manifest in chest pain and shortness of breath.
  6. Prinzmetal angina. Also known as coronary artery spasm, variant angina, or angina inversa, this particular type of chest pain is caused by spasms in the vessels that nourish the heart muscle. Similar to Kounis syndrome, these spasms restrict blood flow to the heart, resulting in angina.
  7. Right heart hypoplasia. This congenital defect of the heart is marked by underdevelopment of the right atrium and ventricle. The abnormality can prevent the lungs from receiving adequate blood flow.
  8. Torsades de pointes. The name of this condition refers to the ECG patterns produced by the heart in these cases. The abnormal heart rhythms expressed by these ECG readings can have life-threatening implications. While in most cases there’s not an imminent risk of sudden cardiac arrest, as the condition advances, the risk increases.
  9. Barlow’s syndrome. When any of the mitral valve flaps fail to close as they should or one is floppy, the patient is diagnosed with Barlow’s syndrome. Although many patients don’t present with symptoms, it’s one of the more common of these uncommon heart conditions.

A broader view of heart disease

Of course, these conditions are rare. However, all forms of heart disease combined are the leading cause of death for both men and women, with Coronary Artery Disease (CHD) being the leading contributor. CHD is caused by the build-up of plaque in the walls of arteries that lead to the heart – meaning it can often be mitigated or prevented with healthy lifestyle choices.

In general, diseases affecting the heart are classified into separate genres. If you’d like to learn more about the primary types of heart disease, we encourage you to read our blog, “Defining the Five Types of Heart Disease”.

What’s a ‘Silent’ Heart Attack?

What's a 'Silent’ Heart Attack? on

It’s a surprisingly common occurrence, which is why it pays to know the warning signs

What do you think about when you image somebody having a heart attack? Most likely you picture someone (probably a man) clutching his chest or breathlessly saying his left arm hurts. And while not entirely wrong, these are not the only signs of someone having a heart attack. In many cases – almost half, in fact – people experience what’s known as a silent heart attack.

What exactly is a “silent” heart attack?

A silent heart attack, also known as a silent myocardial infarction (SMI), gets its name due to the fact that the symptoms aren’t over; there isn’t intense chest or neck pain or sudden dizziness. In many cases, people don’t even know they’re having a heart attack, says Dr. Jorge Plutzky, director of the vascular disease prevention program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

“SMI symptoms can feel so mild, and be so brief, they often get confused for regular discomfort or another less serious problem,” Plutzky explains. “People can even feel completely normal during an SMI and afterward, too, which further adds to the chance of missing the warning signs.”

The warning signs of a silent heart attack

Many signs of a silent heart attack are subtle, so it’s important to know what to look out for:


When someone is having a heart attack, less blood flows to the heart, which often makes the person feel extremely tired. This is one of the most common signs of any heart attack, especially for women.

Shortness of breath

The heart is instrumental in getting oxygen to all parts of the body, as well as eliminating carbon dioxide from the tissue. When blood flow to the heart is blocked, this could have an impact on breathing. Feeling short of breath upon waking is a particularly bad sign.

Soreness in certain areas

Though the sharp pain common with a typical heart attack doesn’t happen, there can be some minor pain or soreness. This is because when heart muscle cells lose oxygen, they transmit pain signals. Because of the proximity to the heart, people may feel discomfort coming from their chest, back, arms, neck, or jaw.

Upset stomach

Everyone has an upset stomach now and again, which is why it is often overlooked as the sign of a heart attack. But in many cases, nausea or vomiting could be heart attack symptoms.


Like an upset stomach, heartburn is pretty common with a lot of people. But if you rarely get indigestion or it comes on unexpectedly, this could be a red flag.

Just not feeling right

This one may be a little vague, but nobody knows your body like you do. If you feel off, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, says Dr. Stacey R. Rosen, a cardiologist at North Shore-LIJ Health System.

“Heart attack patients have told me they have a feeling of doom—like something’s just not right,” Dr. Rosen said. “Listen to that little voice in your head. If something feels off, it’s always better to be overly cautious and call a doctor.”

Whether it’s for yourself or someone you live or work with, knowing the signs of a silent heart attack can help ensure that treatment is given as soon as possible. At One Beat CPR, we are dedicated to educating everyone about heart issues and providing expert CPR and first aid training. To see what we offer, you can check out our class schedule.

Defining the Five Types of Heart Disease

Defining the Five Types of Heart Disease on

Differentiating the root causes of heart issues

The term “heart disease” is used to describe numerous ailments that affect the heart. The term is often used synonymously with “cardiovascular disease,” which describes problems with the heart and blood vessels that can lead to chest pain, a heart attack, sudden cardiac arrest, or a stroke.

The five primary types of heart disease are:

  • Coronary artery (atherosclerotic) heart disease
  • Valvular heart disease
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias)
  • Congenital heart disease

Let’s take a closer look at the causes and symptoms of these five types of heart disease.

Coronary artery (atherosclerotic) heart disease

Coronary arteries provide the heart muscle with the nutrients and oxygen it needs. Coronary artery disease (CAD) occurs when plaque build-up or a clot clogs the arteries to the heart, causing the heart to get less of these nutrients and oxygen. Plaque is made up of several elements, including cholesterol and byproducts of inflammation.

As plaque builds up over several years, the arteries become narrower, causing the blood flow to the heart to be slowed or blocked. Reduced blood flow can eventually lead to blood clots, angina, or a heart attack.

Coronary artery disease can stem from a number of different controllable and non-controllable factors. The non-controllable ones include gender (men have a higher risk) and aging. The controllable factors include smoking, high blood pressure, lack of physical activity, high cholesterol, and being overweight.

There aren’t many symptoms of coronary heart disease in the early stages. As the disease advances, angina or a heart attack may occur, which may lead to a diagnosis of the CAD.

Valvular heart disease

The heart contains four valves that open and close in order to lead blood in and out of the heart. Valvular heart disease occurs when these valves get damaged, which affects how the valves control the flow. This can involve narrowing, leaking, or improper closing.

Much like CAD, valvular heart disease can be caused by a variety of controllable and non-controllable factors. Non-controllable factors include being born with a deformed valve or genetics that cause valve tissue to decay faster with age. Valvular heart disease can also be caused by rheumatic fever, a heart attack, bacterial endocarditis, or rheumatoid arthritis.

More controllable factors include having high blood pressure, taking the migraine medicine Methysergide or certain diet drugs, and radiation therapy.

Symptoms of valvular heart disease include shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, chest pain, swollen feet or ankles, and fainting.


Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle which makes it harder for the muscle to squeeze and pump blood through the rest of the body. There are three main types of cardiomyopathy: dilated, hypertrophic, and restrictive. Cardiomyopathy can lead to other heart conditions such as blood clots, valve problems, cardiac arrest, and heart failure.

Causes of cardiomyopathy include long-term high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, pregnancy complications, nutritional deficiencies, long-term alcohol abuse, and the use of some chemotherapy drugs and radiation.

Similar to CAD, there aren’t many symptoms of cardiomyopathy in the early stages. As the disease advances, symptoms may start to appear, such as swelling of the legs, ankles, or feet, extreme fatigue, breathlessness, dizziness, and fainting. These symptoms can get progressively worse if cardiomyopathy is not treated.

Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias)

Arrhythmias occur when the electrical impulses that control the heart aren’t functioning properly, causing the heart to beat too fast, too slow, or irregularly.

Arrhythmias may be hereditary but can also be caused by an infection, extreme stress, anemia, thyroid disease, other heart conditions, and the abuse of alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, or drugs like cocaine or amphetamines.

Some symptoms of heart rhythm problems include a racing heart, a slow heart, chest pain, and shortness of breath, dizziness, or fainting. But, as with other conditions, arrhythmias may also have no noticeable symptoms until an emergency happens.

Congenital heart disease

Congenital heart disease (CHD) stems from a congenital heart defect that causes a problem with the heart’s structure. Heart defects are one of the most common types of birth defects and can involve an abnormality in the walls of the heart, the heart valves, or the arteries and veins near the heart. They can disrupt blood flow through the heart – either slowing it down, causing it to go to the wrong place or in the wrong direction, or blocking flow entirely.

These defects manifest during fetal development. Some researchers say there is no known reason for them, while others posit they can be related to specific genes or environmental factors while in the womb.

Severe defects can be found during pregnancy or after birth, while others can go undiagnosed until the child is older. Symptoms of severe defects include rapid breathing, fatigue, and poor blood circulation, while the less severe cases can have no symptoms at all. Congenital heart disease can go undetected until it causes sudden cardiac arrest, which “is a major cause of mortality in adults with” CHD.

Spotting, managing and preventing heart disease

Heart disease is easier to treat when diagnosed early, so it is important for you to know your family’s medical history, discuss it with your doctor, and get regular checkups that may spot any hidden issues. In addition, many of the causes of heart disease – including the most common, atherosclerosis – can be mitigated or prevented altogether with lifestyle changes, including a healthy diet and regular exercise.

And should you ever be in a position to witness someone with heart disease having a heart attack or undergoing sudden cardiac arrest, it’s important to know what to do.

One Beat CPR + AED provides American Heart Association CPR and AED training for groups and individuals. For more information or to sign up for a class, call us at 954-321-5305.

Deconstructing a Heart Attack

Deconstructing a Heart Attack on

What happens before, during, and after a heart attack

While most people are familiar with the general symptoms of a heart attack – chest pain, shortness of breath, and fatigue, among others – the dynamics of the event aren’t quite so well-known.

Heart attacks cause permanent damage to the heart’s muscle fibers. “Infarction” is when the blood supply to bodily tissues is cut off, causing those cells to die. The medical term for a heart attack is a myocardial infarction (MI). “Myo” refers to muscle.

While a myocardial infarction can lead to cardiac arrest (when the heart stops beating) or heart failure (when the heart isn’t strong enough to support the body), the three conditions are not synonymous.

What exactly is a heart attack?

If you answered with “a blockage to the heart’s arteries, such as a build-up of plaque” you’re partially correct. The most common type of heart attack is just that; however, there’s another variety.

Spasms in the coronary arteries – although uncommon – can restrict blood flow enough to result in myocardial infarction. Severe coronary spasms can be caused by stress, drugs, allergic reactions, smoking, or pharmaceutical interactions with certain health conditions.

What happens during a heart attack

Regardless of the cause, the results of a myocardial infarction, in general, are the same.

Our hearts deliver themselves oxygen and nutrients via an encompassing network of coronary arteries. When one of these arteries becomes clogged or spasms enough to restrict blood flow, it causes a myocardial infarction.

During an MI, nerve signals to the brain can become disrupted, causing what’s known as “referred pain.” The most frequently reported referred pain associated with heart attacks is felt in the left arm.

Angina – pain or discomfort caused by a lack of oxygen – is another symptom to be aware of. When the heart isn’t pumping enough blood to keep muscles functioning properly, muscles in the neck, jaw, and shoulders can become painful.

Other heart attack symptoms include:

  • Tightness and/or pressure in the chest
  • Cold sweats
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nervousness
  • Sense of impending doom
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Nausea or abdominal discomfort
  • Acid indigestion-like symptoms
  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy

If you or someone you’re in the presence of experiences these symptoms, get help immediately.

The road to recovery

Treatments and recovery periods vary based on the patient and any specifics of the attack. For those who make it to a hospital and get treatment, the first two days after a heart attack are the most dangerous. Most patients require between three and five days of care in a CCU (coronary care unit).

After an MI, the heart may not be as efficient as it used to be, thereby causing poor circulation and fatigue. Doctors require patients to rest and eat lightly in the days after a heart attack to allow the heart and body to begin recovery.

Damage to the heart might also disrupt its electrical control. In such cases, a patient might need to have a pacemaker implanted to help the heart maintain a proper rhythm.

For mild to moderate heart attacks, usually, the heart will settle back into a healthy rhythm within two days. From there, physical activity should be gradually increased to rebuild the heart’s strength. At this point, the risk for a second attack becomes significantly less.

What to do if someone is having a heart attack

How witnesses respond to a heart attack victim is often the difference between life and death. Recognizing the symptoms and calling 911 is a crucial first step, but not always enough, especially if the individual goes into the sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

To learn more about helping a heart attack victim, we encourage you to read our blog, “Heart Attack Safety Begins With knowing What to Do.”

But I Was Only Trying to Help: Do Good Samaritan Laws Cover CPR?

But I Was Only Trying to Help: Do Good Samaritan Laws Cover CPR? on

Every state in the country has Good Samaritan laws. These laws were enacted to protect you if you administer CPR or other emergency help in good faith

It’s a bad scenario. You render aid to someone who’s in distress, possibly saving their lives. The next thing you know, you’re hit with a lawsuit.

In a perfect world where people act with good intentions, this scenario shouldn’t even be possible. You might wonder why anybody who’s been trained to administer first aid and CPR would do it when there’s a possibility of this happening.

Here’s reassuring news. If you’re trained to administer CPR – and you’re delivering it in an emergency situation – you are most likely protected by what’s known as a Good Samaritan law. Here’s what you need to know:

Good Samaritan laws aren’t the same in every state

Every state in the country has Good Samaritan laws. They were enacted to protect you if you administer CPR or other emergency help in good faith. It’s important to note that the information you’re reading here should not be taken as legal advice – especially because Good Samaritan laws vary by state.

Most of these laws, however, cover the same general aspects:

Why you’re acting

Good Samaritan laws protect those of us who selflessly agree to help. This means you’re performing life-saving services like CPR without any expectation of a reward. These laws generally do not apply to medical or emergency rescue staff. These professionals are paid for their services, whereas you’re likely acting out of the goodness of your heart.

Some states have Good Samaritan laws constructed in such a way that your protection may be revoked if you end up being given a reward for your efforts – even when there was no expectation.

Do you need to be certified?

Being certified to perform CPR is, unfortunately, a requirement in some states in order to be protected under their specific Good Samaritan laws. But many states have shown a higher commitment to encouraging their residents to feel comfortable about responding and rendering aid in emergencies.

While it is very important to be properly trained in the CPR technique, survival rates for victims of cardiac arrest are boosted even when someone administers this aid in a less-than-perfect fashion. If anything, this should be the reason that you decide to undergo formal training and receive certification.

The consent requirement explained

You must have someone’s permission to legally provide CPR or other first aid. The loophole is that someone who has gone into cardiac arrest or is otherwise unconscious is unable to provide this consent.

Because every minute counts, Good Samaritan laws generally protect you by permitting you to assume consent would be given to save someone’s life. This may include the use of an automated external defibrillator.

For this reason, you should immediately determine whether someone is conscious. Call out to them and ask, “Are you okay?” Do this even before checking to see if they have a pulse. Even people who aren’t trained in CPR can save a life by performing just chest compressions.

First things first

If you’ve taken a CPR certification course, you know that you should immediately call 911 and report the situation before attempting to render aid unless it’s an infant or small child who isn’t breathing or lacks a pulse; this situation calls for two minutes of immediate CPR. It’s also crucial to make sure both you and the person you’ll assist aren’t in any danger.

The ability to save a life should never be put into doubt by concerns about liability. It’s why all 50 states have Good Samaritan laws in place. Get certified and then keep your CPR certification current – and follow your training in an emergency.

To review Florida’s Good Samaritan Act, click here.