More than 360,000 deaths from sudden cardiac arrest
occur in the United States annually – approximately 1,000 every day. The causes
of cardiac arrest, in both adult and pediatric patients, are reviewed along with the presenting premonitory
signs & symptoms that lead to sudden cardiac arrest.
Management of cardiac arrest – the successful resuscitation of the victim without
brain damage – is predicated on circulating blood containing oxygen to
the heart and brain and delivering an electric shock (defibrillation)
as soon as possible after collapse. The use of an AED
and its mechanism of action is discussed.