Sports First Responder Level 3 (VTQ)

201 videos, 10 hours and 55 minutes

Course Content

Cardiac Arrest and CPR Overview

Video 44 of 201
5 min 46 sec
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Understanding Cardiac Arrest: Importance of Prompt Response


Cardiac arrest, characterized by the cessation of heart function, is often confused with a heart attack (myocardial infarction or MI). It's crucial to distinguish between the two as they represent distinct medical emergencies.

Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction)

A heart attack occurs when a blood vessel supplying the heart muscle becomes blocked, resulting in damage to the heart muscle itself. This condition may or may not present with symptoms such as chest pain and can lead to a cardiac arrest if severe.

Cardiac Arrest

In cardiac arrest, the heart stops functioning, causing an immediate cessation of blood circulation. This results in hypoxia, cyanosis, and eventual death if not promptly addressed.

Recognizing Cardiac Arrest

In a suspected cardiac arrest, the primary focus is on determining whether the patient is breathing:

  • Check for Breathing: Conduct a quick assessment (look, listen, feel) for no more than 10 seconds. Absence of breathing indicates a cardiac arrest.
  • Agonal Gasping: Be aware that agonal gasping, characterized by irregular and labored breaths, may occur in some cases of cardiac arrest.

Immediate Response

If cardiac arrest is confirmed:

  • Commence CPR: Begin chest compressions immediately to manually pump oxygenated blood to vital organs.
  • Use AEDs: Consider using automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) to restore heart function.

Importance of Effective CPR

Efficient chest compressions are vital as they maintain blood flow to the brain, preserving neurological function and increasing the chances of successful resuscitation.


Cardiac arrest is a life-threatening emergency that requires prompt recognition and intervention. Always prioritize safety, conduct thorough checks, and follow established protocols to improve patient outcomes.

Learning Outcomes:
  • IPOSi Unit two LO1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.1, 2.2 & 2.3