Cardiac arrest: "first aid should be the norm" 2

Cardiac arrest: "first aid should be the norm"

The firefighter explains how to use a defibrillator

7 hours ago

First aid instructor Uwe Frankl from Büttelbronn demonstrates how to properly attach a defibrillator to the body of a patient with a heart attack.

© Benjamin Huck

How to know if a person has a heart attack?

A heart attack can occur regardless of age, with the risk increasing for people over 50 years of age. Even long-term smokers and overweight people are more often affected. A heart attack is often accompanied by "pain of destruction" in the breast, as Frankl says. Patients report pressure that feels "like an elephant is standing on his chest."

In addition, pain often radiates to the left shoulder, jaw, abdomen, or between the shoulder blades. Other signs include respiratory problems, nausea and vomiting. Experience has also shown that women often perceive heart attack and associated pain differently – more veins than abdominal pain or in the hands alone. Sometimes chest pain is completely absent.

Even before anyone feels tremendous pain, it can lead to slight pressure in the chest, which disappears peacefully. "A lot of people push it away," Frankl says. However, you should immediately see a "warning alert" by your doctor.

What to do in case of a heart attack?

You should first call the 112 emergency service – and only. "Many aides first call a family doctor or on-call medical service, but in the event of a heart attack, the wrong people to contact lead to delays, which is an acute life-threat," Frankl says. Especially in rural areas, she often experiences that people of false modesty do not dare to alert the rescue service or even seek the "approval" of their family doctor. "Working anytime of the day and night, including public holidays, that's our job," Frankl says.

He also advises not to drive the emergency patient himself to the hospital. In the end, presumed time savings usually act as a major delay in needed therapy. "The rescue service knows which clinics are the right experts."

If it is accessible to the patient, first people should try to calm it down and relieve it of stress. Also, opening your cramped clothes or windows will help. In addition, the responding patient should continue to sit. "It releases the heart because it can no longer get a full performance," Frankl said.

If the patient no longer responds and is not breathing, heart massage should be started immediately. The true pressure point is in the middle of the imaginary line between the two nipples, there should be a deep pressure about five to six inches. Teamwork is important in providing first aid: "If there are other people on the field, you should alternate every two minutes," Frankl advises. Those who believe in mouth-to-mouth resuscitation can do so as well. "The most important thing is a heart rate massage. This is the only way the blood stays in motion and supplies the brain with oxygen."

When will the defibrillator be used?

Ideal for any cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Anyone who knows there is a defibrillator nearby can send someone to get one. "If you are the first person in case of an emergency, you should never let the patient out of sight and interrupt the heart pressure massage," says Frankl.

Each Defi looks different depending on the manufacturer, but the principle of operation is always the same. The big button is there to turn it on. After that, a voice leads through the cartridge, the device talks to the first responders and tells you exactly what to do. Illuminated pictograms, on the other hand, show how the device works. First, the electrodes must be placed on the bare chest. The picture shows where they should be pasted. To get the patient out of their clothes, there are also scissors to cut fabric. In addition, a razor is included to remove strong hair on your chest once.

Light keys and voice guidance guide you through Operation Defi.

© Photo by Benjamin Huck

When the electrodes are glued, the device measures whether the patient has ventricular fibrillation. This requires a brief heart rate massage, as the device says. If your computer diagnoses ventricular fibrillation, it recommends electrocution. This activates the first responder at the push of a button or fully automatically – without touching the patient.

After an electric shock, the heart rate massage must be continued. Some defibrillators, but also the control center helper software in the context of an emergency call, give it a beep before the right clock. Only when the patient shows clear signs of life, such as a strong cough or reacts, can he / she stop for a moment by massaging his / her heart pressure. "Otherwise – even when in doubt – first on-call doctors must continue until the ambulance is resuscitated so you don't stop when an ambulance arrives," Frankl said.

The first people who don't have to worry about damaging the defibrillator. "The devices are made for non-professionals, and a power surge is only delivered in the case of ventricular fibrillation, so accidental or false shocks are ruled out," Frankl explains. The biggest mistake is not helping.

What else to consider when using a defibrillator?

Only a very small number of devices make an emergency call themselves when removed from the holder. "This often happens only at train stations or airports," Frankl says. In some places, such as Sparkasse in Langenaltheim, there is an emergency telephone next to Defi. After use, the device goes to the authorized representative to restore its readiness for use. Some Defis also have a switch for switching between adult patients and children.

What is the tricky thing about cardiovascular failure?

Only one in every 1,000 cardiovascular arrest survivors lives without consequences a year later, Frankl explains. "Only about half of all cardiac arrests have been observed – and if so, then almost exclusively lay people, and only about 40 percent of those lay people will begin CPR." In the Scandinavian countries, this rate exceeds 70 percent, as first aid is taught in primary school.

Per minute of inactivity, the patient loses ten percent of their chance of survival. If the resuscitation first starts with an ambulance, which takes an average of five to ten minutes to get there, the prognosis is pretty poor. "It all depends on the first responder, the motto is testing, calling, pressing."

Büttelbronner even offers first aid courses, especially for businesses and clubs. Education has also changed from experience with low helper rates: "In the past, people were told more about what they could do wrong, the content of the course was too detailed, too complicated, and today they are being told how to save."

You have to make it easier for people and take away their fear, Frankl says. A broken rib during a heart pressure massage would be the least of the problems for an emergency patient. "It's not normal for someone to get cardiac arrest, but it has to be normal for someone to push. First aid must go without saying."

A heart attack and sudden cardiac death explained understandably

Heart attack: It belongs to the group of cardiovascular diseases. Coronary vessel closure occurs. This supplied tissue of the heart muscle is no longer supplied with blood and dies. The pumping force decreases rapidly, cardiac arrhythmia occurs.

high risk groups: Instead of the elderly, smokers, diabetics, people with high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

signs: Shortness of breath. Breast pain that often radiates to the jaw, left shoulder / arm, abdomen, or area between the shoulder blades. Sometimes just a tight or intense tingling sensation in the heart area. Nausea and vomiting.

Men and women: For men, these are more "classic" characters that are familiar to many. Signs are sometimes masked: greater constriction, severe pain in the upper abdomen or weakness, nausea and vomiting.

numbers: In Germany, about 280,000 heart attacks occur annually. About 100,000 people suffer a sudden cardiac death.

This symbol indicates the defibrillator locations.

© Photo by Benjamin Huck

Sudden cardiac death: Circulatory disorders damage the system of stimulation and conduction of the heart. Strong irregularities such as dropouts, jerks or racing heart occur. Heartbeats can lead to life-threatening ventricular fibrillation in which the heart beats about 200 to 300 times per minute. It no longer has any pumping function and, so to speak, just vibrates. This is not recognizable from the outside and is equivalent to complete cardiovascular arrest. The patient is unconscious, no longer breathing, and is clinically dead.

Further information on the topic can be found on the Deutsche Herzstiftung pod, Uwe Frankl also offers first aid courses, more on