Surviving sudden cardiac arrest

November 26, 2008 10:04:57 AM PST
Every day, some 850 Americans die suddenly and unexpectedly because their heart stops. They're not in the hospital and they die before ever getting there.

One might say it takes luck to survive a heart event, but what it really takes is people who care and who know how to respond when one of us suddenly collapses with no sign of life.

Jim Stoliz had been at his desk for a few hours back on July 1 when it happened.

"The next thing I remember is when I woke up in the hospital, five days later," he explained.

His heart had suddenly stopped. He was on the floor with no sign of life.

Luckily for him, his co-workers responded quickly with life saving actions.

Calling 911 is the first step in what the American Heart Assciation and the Red Cross calls the chain of survival.

The chain might' save someone's life.

Jim's co-worker Lou Tiboldo was supposed to retire the previous day, but had put it off.

He went into action for step two.

"I found Jim laying on the floor, Jim under his desk. I got down, pulled him out from his desk and checked to see if he was breathing or had a heartbeat. Since he did not, I started to do CPR," Lou Tiboldo.

Step up in chain of survival -- CPR.

"I started doing chest compressions while another worker did respirations. At the same time, another worker ran to get the AED," Tiboldo explained.

"We continued the CPR for a few more minutes and then we started the AED machine," Asheesh Patel said.

Step 3 in the chain is early defibrillation.

Responders from the Cedar Knolls Fire Department took Jim to Morristown Memorial Hospital. Step 4 is early acute care.

Four keys to surviving sudden cardiac arrest.

"I wasn't even aware of the term much less the possibility before it happened. I had no idea there was a difference between heart attack and cardiac arrest," Jim said.

Surviving sudden cardiac arrest depends on the actions of the people around you and the care you get.

Jim's company, the National Exchange Carriers Association in Whippany, New Jersey, offered training to their employees. They knew what to do.

He said the first responders at the Cedar Knolls Fire Department and Morristown Memorial Hospital gave him great care.


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