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Tackling increased cases of cardiac arrest


It comes with a lot of pain to see promising youths who looked fit and healthy before and during a match just collapse in the middle of a match and vanish like morning dew.

It is in honour of this departed great players from across Africa that today my article will purely highlight cardiac arrest in sports so that all athletes and stakehilders who read this articles may be enlightened this condition and how to mitigate the risk.

Sudden cardiac arrest is unexpected loss of heart function, breathing and consciousness. Sudden cardiac arrest usually results from an electrical disturbance in your heart that disrupts its pumping action, stopping blood flow to the rest of body.

Sudden cardiac arrest is different from a heart attack, which occurs when blood flow to a portion of the heart is blocked. However, a heart attack can sometimes trigger an electrical disturbance that leads to sudden cardiac arrest.

This condition is a medical emergency, if not treated immediately, it causes sudden cardiac death. With fast, appropriate medical care, survival is possible.

Administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), treating with a defibrillator — or even just compressions to the chest — can improve the chances of survival until emergency personnel arrive.

Sudden cardiac arrest symptoms are immediate and drastic and include: Sudden collapse, no pulse, no breathing and loss of consciousness. Sometimes other signs and symptoms precede sudden cardiac arrest.

These may include fatigue, fainting, blackouts, dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness, palpitations or vomiting. But sudden cardiac arrest often occurs with no warning.

If you have frequent episodes of chest pain or discomfort, irregular or rapid heartbeats, unexplained wheezing or shortness of breath, fainting or near fainting, or you’re feeling lightheaded or dizzy, see your medical personnel promptly.

When the heart stops, the lack of oxygenated blood can cause brain damage in only a few minutes. Death or permanent brain damage can occur within four to six minutes.

Time is critical when you’re helping an unconscious person who isn’t breathing. Take immediate action. This is achieved by performing  CPR; CPR entails Quickly checking the unconscious person’s breathing.

If he or she isn’t breathing normally, begin CPR. Push hard and fast on the person’s chest — at the rate of 100 to 120 compressions a minute. If you’ve been trained in CPR, check the person’s airway and deliver rescue breaths after every 30 compressions.

If you haven’t been trained, just continue chest compressions. Allow the chest to rise completely between compressions. Keep doing this until a portable defibrillator is available or emergency personnel arrive. – The writer is a physiotherapist with KPL side Mathare United

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