Chain of Survival:


If followed quickly and efficiently, this four-step intervention process can help save lives of victims of SCA (sudden cardiac arrest). It is worth remembering that SCA is not the same as a heart attack.


Step (link 1): Dial 999

A delay of just a few minutes could prove fatal. The symptoms of SCA are:

  • Unresponsive.
  • Unconscious.
  • No Pulse.
  • Not breathing (normally).


Step (link 2): Start CPR

This link buys time between the first and third steps. During SCA the heart twitches (fibrillates) and cannot pump oxygenated blood efficiently. CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) helps to do this until defibrillation (a method of stooping the twitching and restoring a normal rhythm) can be carried out.


Step (link 3): Defibrillation

This is possibly the most important link. By delivering an electrical shock to the heart muscle can restore normal heart function if delivered within minutes of the onset of SCA.


Step (link 4): Post Resuscitation Care

Having restored a pulse, the next stage is trying to keep it going. This involves careful monitoring by the paramedic or other suitably qualified healthcare professional and includes the use of a range of airway, breathing and circulatory support equipment, cardioactive medication and intravenous fluids. 



 Chain od Survival2



We hope you find this article useful. This is one in an alphabetical series of articles addressing various symptoms and their first aid treatments. If you would like more information on related resuscitation and first aid training, please get in touch.


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