Heart health experts on identifying the signs of cardiac arrest

If you or someone else is experiencing cardiac arrest, it’s important to act fast.
Published: Jan. 13, 2023 at 5:01 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Lisa Marie Presley died Thursday after suffering an apparent cardiac arrest, according to CNN. Her death comes just days after appearing at the Golden Globes to support the film ‘Elvis,’ about her late father.

“Cardiac arrest is when the heart stops pumping. So the main function of the heart is really to provide blood flow to the brain and the organs, and if that suddenly stops, it’s not compatible with life,” said the assistant chief of cardiovascular medicine at UK Hospital, Dr. Vincent L. Sorrell.

Dr. Sorrell says cardiac arrest can be unexpected.

“The only symptoms you might have would be for a few seconds of gasping or maybe rolling your eyes back, and that’s about it,” said Dr. Sorrell.

If you or someone else is experiencing cardiac arrest, it’s important to act fast. If you have a defibrillator nearby, use it.

“If you don’t have one and you call 911, and they’re bringing you an AED, a defibrillator, you can continue to push on the chest at a rate of “staying alive, staying alive,” by the bee gees, about 100 times a minute,” said Dr. Sorrell.

The American Heart Association works to educate people on heart health.

“About 90% of the people who have cardiac arrest outside of the hospital don’t make it. And that’s primarily because they’re not receiving CPR immediately,” said American Heart Association of Kentucky executive director Andrea Ooten.

Andrea Ooten says getting CPR certified is great, but you don’t need a card in your wallet to save a life.

“Even just knowing the two steps of hands-on CPR will make a huge difference,” said Ooten. “Those are calling 911, and pushing hard and fast in the center of the chest and taking those two steps could be the difference in saving someone’s life.”

You can also take steps to make sure you’re keeping your heart healthy.

“All the things our parents told us, regular exercise, the recess that you get in elementary school is a good thing,” said Dr. Sorrell. “Continue to practice healthy living, which means eating good foods, avoiding cigarettes and secondhand smoke.”

American Heart Month is coming up in February. The American Heart Association says they’ll be making a big push around CPR, with several local opportunities for people to learn hands-only CPR.