Wondering about some of the medical terminology EpiDOSE uses? You found the right place. Our glossary was created to help patients and families better understand our research.
A cardiac arrest occurs suddenly and often without warning. There are numerous causes of sudden cardiac arrest which include abnormal heart rhythms and blockages in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. The first line of treatment of cardiac arrest is cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), which is often combined with other advanced treatments such as electrical shock by defibrillation, and medications such as epinephrine. If a cardiac arrest is not treated immediately, it can lead to death within minutes.
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Cardiac arrest happens suddenly. Usually there are no warning signs, however some warning signs can include:
- Sudden collapse
- Unresponsive to touch or sound
- Not breathing or is making gasping sounds
Who is at risk of cardiac arrest?
Cardiac arrest can occur:
- at any age
- at any time
- to people of all fitness levels
- without warning
Out of hospital cardiac arrest is the same as sudden cardiac arrest, but occurs outside of a hospital setting.
CPR is an emergency lifesaving technique performed when the heart stops beating.
For the general public or bystanders who witness an adult suddenly collapse: Hands-Only CPR is CPR without mouth-to-mouth breaths. It is recommended for use by people who see a teen or adult suddenly collapse in an out-of-hospital setting (such as at home, at work, or in a park). It consists of two easy steps:
- Call 9-1-1 (or send someone to do that)
- Push hard and fast in the center of the chest
Return of spontaneous circulation, also known as ROSC, means that the heart has returned to a normal heart rhythm. Signs of ROSC include breathing, coughing or movement and a palpable pulse. However, not all patients who achieve ROSC survive to hospital discharge.
An automatic external defibrillator, most commonly known as an AED, is used to help those experiencing cardiac arrest. It works by analyzing the heart rhythm, and if necessary, delivers an electrical shock (or defibrillation) to help the heart re-establish and effective and safe rhythm.
If you are interested in learning more about AEDs and CPR, check out our Resources page.
Epinephrine also called Adrenaline, is a Health Canada approved medication used in cardiac arrest that works by increasing blood supply to the heart, making it more likely that the heart will start beating again. The drug is given intravenously, in combination with other life-saving measures including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), defibrillator shocks, and other medications.
Intravenous infusion is the administration of fluids or medication directly into a vein. In EpiDOSE, epinephrine is administered through IV.
Ventricular fibrillation is a heart rhythm disruption that occurs when the heart beats with rapid, erratic electrical impulses. This causes pumping chambers in your heart (the ventricles) to quiver uselessly, instead of pumping blood. Sometimes triggered by a heart attack, ventricular fibrillation causes your blood pressure to plummet, cutting off blood supply to your vital organs.
Ventricular tachycardia (VT) is a type of abnormal heart rhythm, or arrhythmia. It occurs when the lower chamber of the heart beats too fast to pump well and the body doesn’t receive enough oxygenated blood.
A heart attack occurs when blood flow to a section of the heart becomes blocked and the heart muscle can’t get oxygen. If the blood flow isn’t restored quickly, that section of the heart begins to die. Depending on how long the blood supply is cut off, the damage can be mild, severe or cause lifelong problems. In some cases a heart attack can be fatal.
Signs of a heart attack include chest discomfort, sweating, upper body discomfort, nausea, shortness of breath and light-headedness.
For more information visit www.heartandstroke.ca
The Canadian Institutes of Health research defines a randomized control trial (RCT) as an experiment in which investigators randomly assign eligible human research participants or other human units of study (e.g., classrooms, clinics, playgrounds) into groups to receive or not receive one or more interventions that are being compared. The results are analyzed by comparing outcomes in the groups.
CanROC or the Canadian Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium is an organization composed of Canadian resuscitation researchers in collaboration with Emergency Medical Services (EMS) partner agencies from across Canada working towards increasing survival from sudden cardiac arrest and life threatening trauma.