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By Angela Success
Cardiac arrest leads to brain damage within five minutes when blood supply to it is cut off. Subsequently if not addressed immediately, it leads to death.
Cardiac arrest occurred when a person collapses, with no heartbeat and breathing. It happens when the electrical control of the heart is disrupted, disorganised or cut off completely. Eighty per cent of all cardio-vascular deaths have been linked to heart attacks and strokes.
Research showed that cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) take the lives of 17.7 million people every year, 31 per cent of all global deaths. In those settings, health workers are being trained to better deliver tested and affordable measures to protect people from CVDs and help them to recover from a sudden heart attack or stroke.
The University of Port Harcourt has joined the global effort to stop deaths caused by cardiac arrest by training its staff on how to perform hands only Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation technique
Speaking recently in a seminar on steps to take during heart attack, organised by Health Services Department of the University of Port Harcourt, a consultant cardiologist, Dr. Sotonye Dodiyi-Manual, said many things could lead to cardiac arrest.
He said some attacks are cardiac or caused by factors affecting the cardiac region directly.
Extra cardiac causes of cardiac arrest, he said, is caused by “airways obstruction, shock, sepsis, embolism of different origins, drug overdose, electrocution, poisoning and acute respiratory failure,” while “direct cardiac causes include and are not limited to Ischemic heart disease, arrhtymias of different origin and character, electrolytic disorder, valvular disease.”
The medical doctor also mentioned “cardiac tamponade, pulmonary artery thrombosis and ruptured aneurysm of the aorta,” saying: “Hands-only cardio-pulmonary resuscitation was recommended for cardiac arrest victims and this should be continued till medical help is secured from trained personnel.”
Mrs. Michelle Umeadi, a registered dietician, spoke on the place of the right diet for heart health.
According to her, what you eat can clog the arteries or clean them up. She said: “Eating very fatty food, like the brain and other organs of animals, will easily increase your chances of having blocked arteries that may subsequently lead to cardiac arrest. The popular hide of animals, commonly called Pomo, also contains fat and Nigerians local delicacy called “Suya” has saturated fat, which is considered very unhealthy as it increases the bad cholesterol level, which is linked to the risk of heart diseases. She recommended that people eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day, which will help clean up the arteries and therefore, reducing chances of heart diseases.”
Speaking on how to manage an emergency situation, Dr. Dodiyi-Manual said there were things to do to keep a victim of cardiac arrest alive within 10 minutes till proper medical help become available, either at the hospital or in an equipped ambulance.
Said he: “Information available advises that when someone collapses, first confirm that the area is safe for you and the victim. Check to see if the victim can respond to a firm tap on his or her shoulder and to a loud question of ‘Are you okay?’ If you do not get any response, quickly shout for help so as to get the victim to the nearest medical facility. while you use less than five seconds to check for the carotid pulse at the neck and any sign of breathing. If none, commence the hands only cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), until medical help is received.
“This may likely keep the patient alive. The victim should not be forced to sit up, slapped or sprinkled with water or sand. He or she should be kept flat on the ground to avoid the obstruction of the airways.”