June 25th, 2009
06:37 PM ET

Fast facts on cardiac arrest

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/06/25/michael.jackson/art.michael.jackson.02.gi.jpg caption="Michael Jackson was taken to UCLA Medical Center after suffering a cardiac arrest."]
American Heart Association

The source of this information is the American Heart Association.

The American Heart Association urges the public to be prepared for cardiac emergencies:

Know the warning signs of cardiac arrest. During cardiac arrest a victim loses consciousness, stops normal breathing and loses pulse and blood pressure. They may suddenly collapse.
Call 9-1-1 immediately to access the emergency medical system if you see any cardiac arrest warning signs.
Give cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to help keep the cardiac arrest victim alive until emergency help arrives.
If you don’t know CPR or haven’t been trained, call 9-1-1 and push hard and fast on the center of the chest until help arrives.

What is cardiac arrest?

Cardiac arrest is the sudden, abrupt loss of heart function. It’s not the same as a heart attack. Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when electrical impulses in the heart become rapid or chaotic, which causes the heart to suddenly stop beating. A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to part of the heart muscle is blocked. A heart attack may cause cardiac arrest.

Sudden death (also called sudden cardiac death) occurs within minutes after symptoms appear.

What causes cardiac arrest?

The most common reason for patients to die suddenly from cardiac arrest is heart disease.

Other factors besides heart disease and heart attack can cause cardiac arrest. They include respiratory arrest, electrocution, drowning, choking and trauma.

Cardiac arrest can also occur without any known cause.

Can cardiac arrest be reversed?

Brain death and permanent death start to occur in just 4 to 6 minutes after cardiac arrest.

Cardiac arrest can be reversed if it's treated within a few minutes with an electric shock to the heart to restore a normal heartbeat. This process is called defibrillation.

A victim's chances of survival are reduced by 7 to 10 percent with every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation. Few attempts at resuscitation succeed after 10 minutes.

How many people survive cardiac arrest?

Each year, EMS treats nearly 300,000 people who suffer cardiac arrest outside the hospital. More than 92 percent of cardiac arrest victims don’t survive to be discharged from the hospital. In cities where defibrillation is provided within 5 to 7 minutes, the survival rate is as high as 30–45 percent.

What can be done to increase the survival rate?

Early CPR and rapid defibrillation combined with early advanced care can result in high long-term survival rates for witnessed cardiac arrest.

If bystander CPR was initiated more consistently, if AEDs were more widely available, and if every community could achieve a 20 percent cardiac arrest survival rate, an estimated 40,000 more lives could be saved each year.

Filed under: Health Care
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Karen

    @Sheri' Jones

    Why? Because you say so?

    June 26, 2009 at 4:37 am |
  2. Sherri Mc

    I remember getting a very precious Tea Set from my parents for Christmas in the late sixties and my first tea for two was with Michael Jackson. Michael's spirit was always genuine and gentle. We have lost another special one and I just can't imagine a world without him. God's love to his children and family. Sherri M.

    June 26, 2009 at 4:04 am |
  3. Sonya Bennett

    Michael was endeed an American Icon,read my tribute to the King of Pop I'm at faithwiters.com,authur-SonyA Bennett- AN TRIBUTE TO MIICHAEL

    June 26, 2009 at 12:38 am |
  4. Marvin

    I will agree with Kat about the CNN commentator...we all know about his bad times...This man...still in the face of being sent to jail...still showed love to all people. And that's why he is so loved around the world. No one can take that from him...He spent his life caring for all people..not many people... How many people would open up their mansion to people and children less fortunate to experience what he had...think about that.

    June 26, 2009 at 12:11 am |
  5. jacqueline

    it saddens me deeply to know that michael jackson felt he was a lonely man. he was loved by d whole world. he is now resting from all the pain and suffering he experience. he felt lonely cause of all the abuse he's father put him through. i doubt his father had the chance apologize to mj. his father's worst punishment is to know that he couldn't ask for mj's forgiveness. in case he never ask for it! i'm afraid to think that mj wasn't saved before he past. unless he was as soon he found out he was sick. however, may his soul rest in peace. we love you michael!

    June 25, 2009 at 11:53 pm |
  6. Kakesha DeChant

    I'm 30yrs old. Celebrated my 3 yr wedding anniversary yesterday. I will always remember this, and know exactly where I was when I heard the devestating news. I am a big fan. God Bless his Family! May his legend live on! I love you Michael!

    June 25, 2009 at 11:39 pm |
  7. Ranell

    Michael is , was and always will be the King of Pop. I hope CNN keeps the reporting respectable and honor him in a way that he surely deserves. Just the facts please. Quit assuming and boasting opinions , it's not fair nor morally acceptable. God bless the Jackson family and friends. We Love You Michael ! So many of us grew up dancing to the Jackson 5.

    June 25, 2009 at 11:31 pm |

    Michael Jackson,Was a legend,that we never forget.....
    We never forget his HIHIHIHIHI..........We always remember him his music he always will dance in our hearts.....forever.
    Michael we always love you........Dina S Carazo

    June 25, 2009 at 10:57 pm |
  9. Carla Hintz

    I just got out of the hospital myself yesterday for cardiac problems the second time. It came on so fast, and I didn't know what it was. You can bet I will pay more attention if it happens again.
    I feel for the Jackson family so much and hope they can eventually go on. It is such a sad passing and I might be older than he was as I am 61, but he was a favorite of mine. Such a wonderful singer and I personally believe he was a wonderful person and a terrific father. Rest in peace Michael, you will be miss by all. We will only remember the wonderful things he did and said and sang. God bless...

    June 25, 2009 at 10:55 pm |
  10. Sharon L Sandell, MD, Chicago, Illinois

    As a retired Emergency Physician, and with all due respect to Dr. Gupta (who is a neurosurgeon and not familiar with ER routines), the diagnosis of "Massive Cardiopulmonary Arrest" or "Massive Cardiac Arrest" is a way for the ER physican to say he is absolutely clueless as to the cause of death. In the end, we all die with our heart and respirations stopped. When a patient arrives by ambulance with no hearbeat, no respirations and all resussitation attempts fail to bring back a heartbeat (this would include, in case of known drug abusers, several whopping doses of narcan, a drug used to mitigate other opiate influences). The media seems to think Michael Jackson actually died of a heart problem. While it is possible, it is unlikely, and only the autopsy with concomittant chemical screening panels will be able to arrive, if at all, at a definitive cause of death. He may have died of an arrhythmia, a sudden embolism, a drug overdose, a metabolic anomaly, or any other of several hundred possibilities... It is too bad no ER doctor has been interviewed to explain.

    June 25, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  11. Helena Pereira

    Last year my mom went into cardiac arrest (2) and died for 41/2 min. she does not have any brain damage, by the second one they decided to implant a defibrilator/pace maker and thank god because the next time no one could save her. God I am so sad today for Farah's family and MJ.

    June 25, 2009 at 10:11 pm |
  12. Michael Schumann

    It is anything but wrong or "disrespectful" to play Michael Jackson's music videos now.

    His art was music, Music was his life's work. It is the music that will go on long after all the gossip and controversy of his life have died away.

    June 25, 2009 at 9:59 pm |
  13. Stephanie Luque

    To Sheri Jones (commentator above):
    Playing his music videos commemorates his talented life. How is that disrespectful? It is paying a tribute to him. We want to remember his legacy.

    June 25, 2009 at 9:43 pm |
  14. SandraWI

    My mother died from this 6 years ago and watching the breaking news of Michael Jackson's death due to cardiac arrest brought me back to my mom's death. I cried for Michael as I remembered how painful it was for me and my family when my mother suddenly died. She was not sick and it was unexcpected. This is the worst feeling in the world, it's shocking and you never forget it. I'll pray that his family finds peace after the shock and sorrow fades.

    June 25, 2009 at 9:07 pm |
  15. Mary

    Thank you for this post AC, it is an extremely important and
    potentially life-sustaining summary. I fully agree with a previous
    poster stating that CPR should be mandatory for everyone. Kids
    know how to operate video games and all the new devices; CPR
    is not that complicated and many lives could be saved if it was taught universally. I also agree that all NEGATIVE reporting regarding MJ is not only inappropriate, but portrays malignant unprofessionalism. Rest in peace MJ.

    June 25, 2009 at 8:46 pm |
  16. Isabel, Brazil

    @Sheri' Jones

    I see this images of Michael Jackson that are showing, now broadcast by the TV as a form of tribute.

    Who is eternal never dies.

    June 25, 2009 at 8:43 pm |
  17. Isabel, Brazil

    We lost a legend of the music world. Despite all the problems that Jackson had, nobody can deny the contribution he gave to the music, dance and behavior of a generation. Michael Jackson will always be an idol.

    June 25, 2009 at 8:40 pm |
  18. david john yap

    this is one great artist we won't be seeing in a long time. we made his life sad because a lot of people may not have been fair to him. he has given us his gift of music and shared it with us and it gave us a lot of fun and happiness. it's definitely a great loss not only to the music world but for everyone of us who live and love music. i will pray for his soul. now, he only plays his music exclusively to God.

    June 25, 2009 at 8:33 pm |
  19. Annie Kate

    Anderson showed us a portable deliberator once when he co-hosted R&K – that would be good to have at home for those people who are high risk for cardiac arrest. Makes not knowing CPR a little less of a scary factor. I took CPR in college and then again with my scout troop I led for several years – its not hard and it makes you feel better for knowing it because you can be a help to someone then instead of a gawking bystander. I would encourage anyone to take the course – the Red Cross in your vicinity probably gives the classes or knows who does.

    June 25, 2009 at 8:18 pm |
  20. Tracy

    I apologize. I guess it would be "more prurient".

    June 25, 2009 at 8:14 pm |
  21. Tracy

    Let's focus on the pleasure we found in his music and stay away from the less prurient aspects of his life. Remember, only God is allowed to judge.

    June 25, 2009 at 8:13 pm |
  22. Ms. Bernstein

    What was so amazing about Michael is that he crossed the paths of those of us who are over 50 and our kids! He was an amazing artist -often misunderstood-as many artists can be, and yet a very kind-hearted man. Choices that were made were not correct, but who are we to judge, may I ask? The world is changing rapidly-and Michael's passing truly makes us realize that life is short-enjoy it-love those around you and stay peaceful.

    June 25, 2009 at 8:11 pm |
  23. Mary


    The Jackson 5 were my first concert at the Iowa State Fair. I think I was 9 and totally in love with Micheal Jackson. I am stunned at the news and despite the personal issues that plagued him as an adult. I believe he was the greatest entertainer that ever lived! May he rest in peace.

    June 25, 2009 at 8:06 pm |
  24. Miya

    luv u M.J. I hope every1 c the truth of life now and it can b any1 so get ur life rite with GOD because it can b u next.

    June 25, 2009 at 8:04 pm |
  25. Penny

    I recently performed CPR and used an AED while on vaction in Vegas. It worked, with the help of another bystander we were able to save a woman's life. It is an experience I will never forget.

    June 25, 2009 at 7:58 pm |
  26. kiley

    I am suprised that CNN would be so in rude to the Jackson family and put in big letters Micheal is dead. CNN is a very respectable news outlit that people from all over the world listen too. I would think that they could find a less harsh word other than dead!!!!! Maybe the word passed away. But not DEAD!!! Have some respect . I am suprised at you guys after all of wht he has accomplised. He is the King of POP!!!!!

    June 25, 2009 at 7:53 pm |
  27. Sheri' Jones

    I think it is disrespectful for CNN to play Michael Jackson's music videos at this point in time.

    June 25, 2009 at 7:08 pm |
  28. Brenda Grant

    PLEASE, PLEASE stop reminding everyone of the molestation charges that Michael Jackson was aquitted of. The operative word her is "aquitted". He was NOT found guilty so there's no point in even bringing it up anymore. Please only speak of the good things about him. Please don't allow that to be a reminder of who he is/was. There's absolutely NO reason at all to continuously mention it! PLEASE STOP!!!!

    June 25, 2009 at 7:06 pm |
  29. Ana Felipe

    My condolences to Michael's family. May God open his arms and welcome him back home.. I 've always thought that when a person dies, all the hipocrites come out. I have not heard any of those anchors that reffered to Michael as Jack-O Wacko call him that today. They should have shown some compassion an respect while he was still breathing and with us.

    June 25, 2009 at 7:05 pm |
  30. Tarja, Finland

    CPR training should be made compulsory education in e. g. schools. ( I have CPR training )

    June 25, 2009 at 7:04 pm |
  31. Kat

    I hope that at a time like this, of such great loss to the music and entertainment industry–needless to say the world–that true journalist will cover the FACTS and reserve their opinions until after the man is laid to rest. I just heard a very unnecessary (opinionated) comment from a CNN correspondent ("Geoffrey") regarding the 2005 trial. Still to the facts, please.

    I pray God's comfort to both the Fawcett and Jackson families!


    June 25, 2009 at 7:00 pm |

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