Why give?

Cardiac arrest

What is cardiac arrest?

The heart suddenly stops beating normally and cannot pump blood effectively. 

8 in 10
occur at home or in public places 
1 in 10
 survive cardiac arrests that happen at home or public places
survival doubles with immediate action.
Daphne Hodgins

Signs of cardiac arrest

Cardiac arrest happens suddenly. There are usually no warning signs.

  1. Sudden collapse

  2. Unresponsive to touch or sound

  3. Not breathing or is making gasping sounds

When the heart stops beating, blood is not circulating. Brain death can begin in as little as three minutes.

 Your immediate action can double the chance of surviving. 

What to do

  1. Call 9-1-1 and shout for a defibrillator.

  2. Push hard and fast in the centre of the chest. Think of the song "Stayin' Alive" to get the right rhythm. Don't stop until someone takes over or the person begins to respond.

  3. Use a defibrillator as soon as it arrives. They are safe and simple to use. It has prompts that tell you what to do.

You are the person's best chance. Have the courage to act quickly.

Don’t wait for EMS to arrive – they may be several minutes away.


Don’t wait for someone else to step in. Seconds matter. Start immediately.
 Doing CPR – even if it is not perfect – gives the person their best chance.

Who is at risk?

Cardiac arrest can occur:
- at any age.
- at any time.
- to people of all fitness levels.
- without warning.


The difference between cardiac arrest and a heart attack

Cardiac arrest and  heart attack are not the same thing, although people often confuse the terms. Both are medical emergencies.

What is it?

Cardiac arrest

The heart has stopped pumping

Caused by an abnormal heart rhythm

The heart  cannot pump blood to the rest of the body

It is a medical emergency

Death occurs in minutes without immediate action

Heart attack

The heart is not getting enough blood so it starts to die

Caused be a blockage of blood flow to the heart 

The heart is continues to pump blood

It is a medical emergency

Damage to the heart increases with every minute of treatment delay

What does it look like?

Cardiac arrest

Sudden  collapse

Unresponsive to touch or sound

Not breathing or making gasping sounds

Heart attack

Person is generally conscious. 

Signs include: 
Chest or upper body discomfort, sweating
nausea, shortness of breath, and light-headedness

What to do?

Cardiac Arrest

Call  9-1-1 and shout for a defibrillator

Start CPR

Use a defibrillator as soon as it arrives

Don't hesitate. This is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention

Heart Attack

Call 9-1-1

Stop all activity. Sit or lie down

Take your nitroglycerin

Chew Aspirin (ASA) (one 325 mg or two 81 mg tablets).

Rest and wait

A heart attack can turn into cardiac arrest if it is severe enough

Heart & Stroke is working to save lives with faster, better emergency response and treatment for stroke and cardiac arrest