Understanding the Chain of Survival in First Aid

7 August 2018
 Categories: , Blog

When you pursue an emergency life support course, you'll learn about an important concept: the chain of survival. In 1991, the American Heart Association (AHA) introduced the chain of survival as an important sequence of events that improve a patient's chances of surviving a cardiac arrest. Knowing more about the four links will help you refine your first aid techniques. 

1: Early access to an emergency response system

When someone suffers from a cardiac arrest, they need to access an emergency response system swiftly. For this to happen, you need to recognise that the person is in cardiac arrest. Hltaid003 provide first aid courses that equip you in doing so. Once you suspect someone's heart is no longer beating, initiating an emergency response promptly enhances their chance of surviving.

2: Performing CPR as soon as possible

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) won't restart the patient's heart. Instead, the aim is for you to take over the heart's function by encouraging blood carrying oxygen to move around the body. As you move between your 30 chest compressions to 2 rescue breaths sequence, you prevent the person in cardiac arrest from encountering a hypoxic brain injury. At this stage, you're attempting to mimic the usual airway, breathing and circulation processes the patient needs to stay alive.

3: Early defibrillation

Hltaid003 provides training in using an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED). After attaching the AED correctly and ensuring the area is safe, the machine will analyse whether the patient has a 'shockable' rhythm. In the event of a shockable rhythm, it will advise you to deliver a shock to restart the heart's electrical current. When one isn't present, you continue with CPR. Depending on your location, the state of the patient, and any interventions a paramedic performs, they may still benefit from advanced care at a hospital.

4. Early advanced emergency care

It's important to note that less than five-percent of out of hospital cardiac arrests result in survival. That figure rises to around 15-percent if the patient is in hospital, which is why getting them there is important. For this to happen, you need to call for help by requesting the assistance of the emergency services if it's possible to do so. Once the patient has the attention of medics and other practitioners, they will benefit from the administration of drugs that increase their chances of survival. In some cases, they may need surgery.

To ensure the chain of survival works, you need to initiate each step swiftly. If you're not feeling confident now, pursuing a first aid course should change that