Cardiac arrest: Much to take heart from

In Restart-a-Heart Month, a cardiac arrest researcher takes a timely look at Singapore's progress in this area

With time being the enemy, the best chance a cardiac arrest victim has to survive is if someone who has witnessed the event - a "bystander" - starts cardiopulmonary resuscitation and uses an automated external defibrillator, says the writer. PHOTO: L
With time being the enemy, the best chance a cardiac arrest victim has to survive is if someone who has witnessed the event - a "bystander" - starts cardiopulmonary resuscitation and uses an automated external defibrillator, says the writer. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

It was an ordinary week day and 22-year-old Tesha (not her real name) was preparing for work. She never made it to work that day. She suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and collapsed at home.

Her husband called 995 - Singapore's emergency services number - and received instructions to start cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). When the ambulance paramedics arrived, they found her without a pulse because her heart was stuck in an abnormal rhythm called ventricular fibrillation. Delivering electric shocks with a defibrillator, they managed to restart it.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 02, 2020, with the headline 'Cardiac arrest: Much to take heart from'. Print Edition | Subscribe