Act in Time – Save a life!
People often confuse a heart attack and a cardiac arrest. A heart attack is a “circulation” problem and cardiac arrest is an “electrical” problem. A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked; the patient usually stays conscious and breathing and survives. A cardiac arrest is when the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating unexpectedly. The patient is unconscious and stops breathing. Only immediate CPR and a defibrillator can save them.
If the patient is not breathing and has no pulse: First call 999 and tell this to the ambulance service. But if you have someone with you, ask them to call 999 and also ask the ambulance service for the 5 digit access code for the Boars Hill defibrillator. Send the helper to collect the defibrillator. Whether or not you have a helper, you MUST immediately start CPR (rapid chest compressions to mimic the heart).
To carry out chest compressions:
- Place the heel of your hand on the breastbone at the centre of the person’s chest. Place your other hand on top of your first hand and interlock your fingers.
- Position yourself with your shoulders above your hands, keep your elbows straight.
- Using your body weight (not just your arms), press straight down by 5 to 6cm (2 to 2.5 inches) on their chest.
- Keeping your hands on their chest, release the compression and allow the chest to return to its original position.
- Repeat these compressions at a rate of 100 to 120 times a minute until an ambulance (or the defibrillator) arrives or you become exhausted. [Do not stop to give breaths unless you are trained to do so].
See below for some short videos on how to do this.
The Boars Hill AED (Automated External Defibrillator) is located in front of the main porch of the Beaumont Care Home. Take the Bayworth Lane turn off Foxcombe Road. Go to the main entrance (first turning 50 yards on the right); you will see the AED by the main porch directly ahead of you. Ask for the access code when you first call 999. Take the defibrillator and the plastic bag below it which contains scissors etc.
This unit was jointly funded as a public service by: Sunningwell Parish Council, the Boars Hill Association and the Beaumont Care Home and supplied by the Community HeartBeat Trust. There are also defibrillators in the telephone box next to the pond in Sunningwell village and next to the main entrance to Wootton Community Centre near the shops.
If watching these videos on a cellphone, it may be necessary to turn the phone to view in landscape mode.
Hands only CPR – learn the basics in one minute:
If you have a helper, whilst you give CPR, they will call 999 and ask for the access code and fetch the Boars Hill defibrillator.
Here is a short video guide showing the same fully automatic AED model as located on Boars Hill.
(Please note that giving breaths is no longer recommended unless you have been trained to do so.)
Watch the next video to see a real case in action and note how vigorous the compressions must be.
What is an Automated External Defibrillator (AED)?
Placing AEDs in the community is widely recommended by the emergency services to reduce the time from collapse to defibrillation. An AED is an emergency portable life-saving device (similar in size to a laptop computer) for use in the event of a Cardiac Arrest. It analyses the heart rhythm and, if needed, administers an electrical charge to the heart to re-establish a regular heartbeat. Only within the first few minutes following a Cardiac Arrest will a victim be in a ‘shockable rhythm’, and therefore rapid defibrillation is vital.
How does an AED work?
When turned on, the AED itself will instruct the user to connect the pads to a patient’s bare chest. The pads enable the AED to examine the patient’s heart and determine if the patient is in a viable, shockable rhythm. If the device determines that a shock is required, it will charge up in preparation to deliver a shock. The AED is very safe as it will only deliver a shock when it determines a shockable rhythm is present.
When charged, the device instructs the user to ensure no-one is touching the victim and the AED unit will advise the user that it will deliver the shock without further intervention. After the shock is delivered, the device will instruct the user to commence/continue CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) for a period, after which it will analyse the patient’s heart rhythm once again, advising whether a further shock or more CPR is needed.
An AED has an internal memory, which stores the ECG of the patient along with details of the time the unit was activated and the number and strength of any shocks delivered. All this memorised data can either be downloaded to a computer or printed out, so that it can be analysed by appropriate medical personnel.
Who can use an AED?
Using an AED is as simple as 1…2…3
It is the view of the Resuscitation Council (UK) that the use of an AED is NOT to be restricted to trained personnel. However chances of survival increase if the person has some prior knowledge – hence this web page.
AEDs have visual and voice prompts which guide the resuscitator through the defibrillation process. The device is fail-safe and will not administer a shock unless a particular heartbeat is detected.
What is the “Chain of Survival”?
The “Chain of Survival” represents the sequence of events/links that must occur quickly to give the patient the optimum chance of surviving a Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Time is critical – you only have a matter of minutes to restart the heart.
What are the four links of the “Chain of Survival”?.
- Early access to care – dial 999 immediately! Ask for the access code for the Boars Hill AED.
- Early Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) – provide CPR to help maintain blood flow to the brain until the arrival of defibrillation. CPR / chest compressions are given by leaning directly over the patient’s chest and, whilst keeping the elbows straight, using both hands together on top of each other to push down firmly about twice per second. This will mimic the action of the heart and buy valuable time.
- Early defibrillation – defibrillation is the only way to restart a heart in cardiac arrest.
- Early advance care – after defibrillation, upon arrival an emergency team provides advanced cardiac care on site, such as intravenous medications.
Quick action by the first person on the scene can truly make a difference in saving a life.