CPR First Aid

Heart Attack vs Cardiac Arrest – Know the Difference!

heart attack vs cardiac arrest know the difference

heart attackTo recognise REDFEB – Heart Research Month our focus this month is on heart-related topics.  Heart attack, cardiac arrest, providing CPR, and when to use a defibrillator. 

Sudden cardiac arrest is much worse than a heart attack. It is a condition in which the victim’s heartbeat stops abruptly and unexpectedly due to an abnormal heart rate or arrhythmia. A sudden cardiac arrest victim will have little or no warning and will lose consciousness and collapse.

What to do: Heart Attack

Even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, call 000. Every minute matters! It’s best to get the casualty assessed and to a hospital right away. Emergency services staff can begin treatment when they arrive — up to an hour sooner than if someone gets to the hospital by car.

What to do: Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Cardiac arrest is reversible in most victims if it’s treated within a few minutes. First, call 000 for an ambulance. Then get an automated external defibrillator, if one is available, and use it as soon as it arrives. Begin CPR immediately and continue until emergency services arrive. If two people are available to help, one should begin CPR immediately while the other calls 000 and finds an AED.

So what are the basic steps to delivering CPR:


D – Danger: CHECK the scene for danger, form an initial impression and use personal protective equipment (PPE)

R – Responsive? CHECK for responsiveness, breathing, life-threatening bleeding, or other life-threatening conditions. Shout “Hello, can you hear me? Squeeze my hands”

S – Send for Help: If the person does not respond and is not breathing or only gasping, send someone for help, requesting they call 000 and get any required equipment, first aid kits, or AED if available

A – Airway Open: Jaw down, then tilt head to check airway for any blockages. If there is a blockage roll onto the side and clear it by scooping with a finger

B – Breathing Normal? If yes, place in the recovery position and check every 10 seconds. If no, place on hard service and commence CPR

C – CPR Start: 

Give 30 chest compressions

  • Hand position: Two hands centred on the chest (adult); one hand (child); 2 fingers (infant/baby)
  • Body position: Shoulders directly over hands; elbows locked
  • Depth: At least 2 inches
  • Rate: 100 to 120 per minute
  • Allow the chest to return to normal position after each compression

Give 2 breaths

  • Use CPR face shield
  • Open the airway – tilt head and lift chin (adult), slight head tilt (child), no head tilt (infant/baby)
  • Pinch nose and pull-down jaw to open mouth (for infants cover nose and mouth with your mouth and )
  • Ensure each breath lasts about 1 second and makes the chest rise; allow air to exit before giving the next breath

D – Defibrillator: Attach Defibrillator (AED). Locate an AED if available and attach pads on casualty to start assessing heart rhythm. Continue CPR as instructed by the device until emergency services arrive.


Learn CPR today! 

Everyone 14 years and over should know basic CPR. 

We offer 3 ways to complete training:

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