What to do if there is a cardiac arrest in the crowd?

What to do if there is a cardiac arrest in the crowd?

What to do if there is a cardiac arrest in the crowd? One of the best ways to prevent death from cardiac arrest is prompt treatment with an AED. Although athletes themselves do have cardiac arrests it is rare. More commonly those who are watching the game are ones likely to have a cardiac arrest. All football grounds on the UK are required to have an AED on site and at one off events the on site first responders and Doctors will have access to AED’s.

How to use and AED?As well as having access to an AED it is important to know how to perform CPR also. According to the British Heart Foundation, every year in the UK around 60,000 people suffer a cardiac arrest outside of hospital.  Without immediate treatment, the survival rate can be as low as a few percent.  However, if a defibrillator is used right away the chances of survival become much better.  The UK Resuscitation Council’s guidelines state:

“The scientific evidence to support early defibrillation is overwhelming; the delay from collapse to delivery of the first shock is the single most important determinant of survival. If defibrillation is delivered promptly, survival rates as high as 75% have been reported.”

To watch how to use an AED check out our YouTube video.

Given this, the advantages of having a defibrillator nearby are clear: for a cardiac arrest victim, it can make the difference between life and death.

Here is the scene, the game is being played out on the pitch, the crowd suddenly go quiet as one of the spectators drop to the ground not breathing. They have had a cardiac arrest.

What to do if someone has a cardiacarrest in the crowd?Quickly someone needs to take charge. What are your priorities once you know someone is not breathing?

  1. Ask someone to call for an ambulance and tell the emergency services you have a non-breathing casualty. Make sure there is only one phone call!
  2. Ask someone to quickly go and get the AED from the sites first aid room or offices where it is stored
  3. Begin CPR with 30 good strong deep compressions. Ideally 5-6cm deep at a rate of 100-120 per minute
  4. Give the casualty two rescue breaths. If you cant perform the breaths just do continuous compressions
  5. Continue with CPR (30 compressions to 2 breaths) someone else can take over as you tire
  6. Once the AED arrives take it out of its box and press the green ON button
  7. Simply follow the instructions spoken to you by the box

What does an automated external defibrillator do?

An automated external defibrillator (the AED) is a kind of defibrillator designed for public use.  It requires no special training or medical knowledge to operate.  Its purpose is to deliver an electric shock to the heart to force it back into a normal rhythm.

When you turn on an AED it will speak out loud and tell you what to do. You will usually need to perform chest compressions according to the AED’s instructions.  In about 50% of cases the AED will need to deliver a shock to the patient.  The AED analyses the patient and makes these decisions.  The rescuer just has to follow the prompts.

To watch how to use an AED check out our YouTube video.


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Digital Sports First Aid ManualYou may be interested in our Digital Sports First Aid manual. The manual is free for anyone who books on one of our first aid courses. This can be downloaded multiple times to your hand held tablet or phone and includes links to a large video library of videos demonstrating first aid techniques like CPR and injury management. The manual also contains links to a library of blogs dealing with specific illnesses and injuries.