One of the causes of a heart attack is plaque buildup in the arteries. Eventually, the arteries become blocked, cutting off the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle. If the blood is not quickly restored, the section of the heart muscle begins to die. The process of plaque buildup can occur over a period of many years, but most of us think of a cardiac attack as a sudden event, because we see the person at the critical point of collapsing from the lack of oxygen.
There is no way to predict when someone is about to have a heart attack. It is important that companies train their personnel on how to recognize when someone is experiencing a cardiac event and how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Employers should also have an automated external defibrillator accessible to their employees and make sure that all employees are trained on how to use them.
If you encounter someone in cardiac arrest, you should call 911 immediately. Determine whether the person is unconscious, not breathing and have no pulse. If there is an AED available, open the lid on the unit and follow the voice commands.
The AED will tell you where to place the electrodes and patches on the person. The unit will perform an analysis of the person to determine if there is a shockable rhythm. If so, the voice prompts will tell you when to press the button to deliver a defibrillation pulse. After the shock is given, the machine will reanalyze the person. If the machine detects a heart rhythm, it will advise you to check for a pulse. If there is no pulse, the machine will advise you to administer CPR. This cycle will continue until no shockable rhythm detected or emergency personnel arrives. If the person regains consciousness, you should keep the person as comfortable as possible until emergency personnel arrives.