Can You Save a Life after a Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

Let me begin by asking this question, does a doctor only save a life? Can you? Let’s find out!! Imagine a situation where you are in at your workplace submerged in intense work or you are at a mall shopping with loved ones or walking on a road listening to music any random situation… and you see a person suddenly collapse and is unconscious (not responding). Wouldn’t it freak you out?

So then how would you try helping the person? You may go and shake the person until he wakes up, sprinkles water over him, etc… But what if the person doesn’t respond to any of your actions… He must’ve had a cardiac arrest and is in need of CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation).

What is cardiac arrest?

Cardiac arrest is a life-threatening condition wherein the heart fails to pump adequately which is seen as;

  • Unconsciousness/ unresponsiveness
  • Absent pulse
  • Absent breathing

Must read l The signs and symptoms of Heart Attack

What is CPR?

Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation, also called for basic life support, is a life-saving procedure given when the person is in cardiac arrest. It includes chest compression and rescue breaths.

It’s not necessary that only a Healthcare professional should know how to do it, anyone can do it.

How can you save a life?

If a person collapses;

  1. Rush to him and tap on his shoulders and ask ‘Are you okay?’ If he is unresponsive
  2. Call for help: You may ask someone to call the ambulance
  3. Check for his carotid pulse and respiration for 10 seconds SIMULTANEOUSLY.


  • The carotid pulse is assessed from the carotid arteries which are located on either side of the windpipe.
  • If you are not pretty sure, take your middle and index finger place it on your Adam’s apple (the slight elevation on the front of your neck), and then slide it towards the left or right as per your comfort. Well did you get a pulse? 🙂
  • Respiration can be assessed by placing the other hand on the chest to check for chest rise.If both are absent

4. Start Chest Compression and Rescue Breaths in the ratio 30:2

Chest Compression

  • Ensure that the person is on a firm surface.
  • Kneel next to the person.
  • See that you loosen the clothing if practical.
  • Locate the end of the sternum/breastbone by using your fingers then place the HEEL of your dominant palm over the sternum, later place the non-dominant palm over the dominant hand and interlace the fingers. Start giving compression.
  • Make sure to lock your elbows!
  • Compression rate: At least 100 compressions in 1 minute. If you are not sure of the compression beat to check the attached video or listen to the beats of the song Stayin’ Alive – Bees Gees J. Don’t push too fast, allow the chest to recoil. Avoid interruptions during the compression.
  • Compression depth: 2 inches

Rescue Breaths

If the person is a stranger it’s advisable not to give mouth to mouth breaths, whereas if it’s your loved one and it’s not infectious you may go ahead.


  • Tilt the head back by applying pressure over the forehead and lift the chin up with one hand (this position opens the airway).
  • Then pinch the nose with the other hand place your mouth over the person’s mouth seal it completely.
  • Now, blow into the person’s mouth for at least a second and watch for chest rise (ensuring air entering into lungs).

As mentioned above 30 chest compression followed by 2 breaths then again resume compression and continue it until medical help arrives Or else continue Hands-only CPR without breaths till help arrives.

Must read l Why cardiac arrests in the bathroom are most severe?


When a person collapses there is enough oxygen in the blood to keep him alive for 10 minutes, but only if this blood reaches the brain. Chest compression builds up pressure that keeps blood flowing to the heart and brain.

Those 10 minutes are very crucial and if you follow the technique of delivering a CPR you can save a life!

You don’t need to be a doctor to save someone’s life, a heart with goodwill can do wonders!

You have the power to save a life – Go make a difference, Be an Angel!

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