If you believe someone has suffered a cardiac arrest, take immediate action:
Anyone can use a defibrillator – they have verbal and visual instructions to guide you.
Cardiac arrest is the term given to the sudden loss of heart function. The heart is no longer pumping blood and oxygen around to the vital organs of the body. A cardiac arrest is different to a heart attack where a person is awake and has symptoms such as pain in the chest, difficulty breathing, nausea or feeling light-headed. If a person is experiencing a heart attack or more serious cardiac arrest, call Triple Zero (000) immediately for an ambulance.
Signs of a cardiac arrest are present when a person is:
Over 33,000 people experience an out of hospital cardiac arrest in Australia every year. Less than 9% will survive. For every minute that passes after a person has a cardiac arrest, the chance of survival decreases. Quick action could save a life.
Anyone can try to save the life of someone who has experienced a cardiac arrest by acting quickly to restore the heart beat with CPR and defibrillation.
If someone has suffered a cardiac arrest, take immediate action:
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is the technique of chest compressions combined
with rescue breathing. Early CPR saves lives. The Australian and New Zealand Committee on
Resuscitation recommends that bystander CPR be actively encouraged. Resuscitation using the steps DRSABCD should be followed for cardiac arrest and is taught in all first aid courses in Australia. It is important that first aid skills are up to date.
Further information is available on the Australian
Government's healthdirect website.
An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a small, portable device designed to deliver a controlled electrical shock to a person experiencing certain cardiac arrhythmias. Defibrillators must be used in conjunction with CPR.
An AED can be purchased by individuals and organisations of all types to enhance their first aid capabilities and response. NSW Health does not recommend a particular brand or model of defibrillator for public use. Consider the features of a defibrillator that best suit your situation.
Please ensure your unit of choice:
After purchasing an AED, it is important to consider the following factors to implement an
effective AED program for your organisation.
Acknowledgements: Michael Hughes Foundation and NSW Ambulance.