Experts advise knowing signs of cardiac arrest and how to respond

Recognizing and responding to cardiac arrest

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - By the time rescue workers arrived on the scene of a teenager believed to have suffered cardiac arrest Thursday, it was too late.

The 14-year-old girl was pronounced at the scene at a Gold’s Gym in Chesterfield on Thursday morning.

Authorities say when they responded to the gym, the teenager was already unresponsive.

Experts say it’s important to recognize the warning signs of cardiac arrest and understand what you can do if you spot someone in need of help.

Experts say a person can die from cardiac arrest within minutes if they don’t get help immediately. It’s why health advocates are sounding the alarm making sure more people can recognize when someone is having a heart problem.

Cardiac arrest is when the heart malfunctions and stops beating suddenly. It doesn’t take long for a person to become unresponsive, showing no signs of a pulse.

The American Heart Association says if you spot someone in need, first yell for help and tell someone to call 911. Then have someone rush over an automated external defibrillator. If you have to wait or one isn’t there, check to see if the person is breathing. If they aren’t or they’re gasping for air, administer CPR pushing down at a rate of 100 to 120 pushes per minute right in the center of the chest. This can be life-saving until first responders arrive.

While Thursday’s incident happened at a gym, a study shared by Harvard University says exercise-related heart deaths are rare, although a heart problem often happens when a person is exercising.

Knowing what to look for and how to respond can save the day.

Cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death with more than 320,000 people dying outside of a hospital each year.

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