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For Professionals

Cardiac Arrest & Clinical Death

Although people have heard of the phenomena of cardiac arrest, most do not realise that cardiac arrest is synonimonous with death. These two terms essentially mean the same thing. Most people see cardiac arrest like the glorious moment in various television medical programmes in which doctors try fervently to try and save somebody’s life and prevent them from dying but in fact what they don’t realise is that the point at which we die is when the heart stops beating, the person stops breathing, and the brain shuts down which are exactly the same criteria as a cardiac arrest. The only difference between a cardiac arrest and death is the definition used by the medical staff. When medical staff intervene with someone who has just died and try to restart their heart, it is called a cardiac arrest. If they do not succeed in restarting the heart and all resuscitation efforts are stopped, then they will pronounce the person as officially dead. In actuality, the two are the same phenomena and cardiac arrest resuscitation simply refers to the first part of death when doctors and nurses attempt to restart the heart in someone who has just died.

The science of cardiac arrest has really only entered the realm of medical research in the last fifty years and is thus a somewhat new and exciting field that is continuously undergoing development. What has been discovered so far is that the early part of death is reversible and that this period of reversibility can last many minutes to over an hour of time.

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