What are the Differences Between Various Heart Ailments?


Most people think that when something goes wrong with the heart, it must be a heart attack. In reality, the heart can suffer from many different ailments, and it pays to know the difference – especially when learning CPR or first aid skills.

The most common type of heart ailment is coronary heart disease, a condition that occurs when plaque builds up inside the arteries and reduces blood flow to the heart. This increases the risk of a heart attack, stroke, and other life-threatening complications.

A heart attack, also called a “myocardial infarction,” occurs when the blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart muscle is severely reduced or cut off completely. If applied in time, CPR  can often mean the difference between life and death for heart attack victims.

Heart failure occurs when the heart doesn’t pump enough blood throughout the body. Often confused with heart attacks, heart failure doesn’t mean the heart has stopped. Instead, it simply means that the heart is not squeezing as well as it should. Heart failure can be caused by coronary artery disease, damage to the heart muscle, birth defects, diabetes and other factors.

More Heart Ailments
Other common forms of heart disease include:

Irregular heartbeat. Also known as an “arrhythmia,” this ailment occurs when the electrical signals that cause the heart to beat do not fire in the proper sequence. In severe cases, an external defibrillator <http://www.surefirecpr.com/aed-sales/> may be used to shock the heart back into a normal rhythm.

Congenital heart defects. Typically occurring in the heart’s chambers, valves or blood vessels, these consist of heart problems that develop before birth. Some are life threatening, while others are mild and may need little or no medical treatment even through adulthood.

Cardiomyopathy. This results from an abnormality of the heart muscle that makes it harder for the heart to pump blood efficiently. Depending on the severity of the condition, it can lead to heart failure.

Heart valve problems. These can occur when the tissue flaps on each heart valve (to make sure the blood flows in the right direction) don’t open and close properly.

Angina. Usually caused by narrowing of the arteries or muscle spasms in the coronary arteries, this painful condition occurs when the heart doesn’t get enough oxygen and nutrients. Although it can feel like a heart attack, angina doesn’t usually cause permanent heart damage.

Heart Attack First Aid
If you or someone else is having a heart attack, medical professionals recommend the following:

• Call 911 immediately, or have a neighbor or friend drive you to the nearest hospital or emergency clinic. Do not attempt to drive yourself.

• Chew or swallow an aspirin, unless you are allergic to it or have been told by your doctor not to take it.

• If the person is unconscious, begin CPR. If you haven’t taken CPR training, get certified as soon as possible so that you can help someone in an emergency. The 911 operator can also walk you through the steps! do not attempt mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Instead, apply chest compressions at the rate of about 100 per minute until help arrives.

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Now is the Time to Get School Staff CPR Certified

Teenage students and their teacher, using an oxygen mask on a CPR dummy.

Teenage students and their teacher, using an oxygen mask on a CPR dummy.

With another school year just around the corner, there’s never been a better time to get your CPR certification.

CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is a technique used to save the life of someone experiencing cardiac arrest. It involves a combination of chest compressions and rescue breathing (mouth-to-mouth resuscitation) to restore breathing and blood circulation and prevent damage to the brain from lack of oxygen. Everyone knows that CPR saves lives. What most don’t know is how easy it is to get CPR certified.

 If you’re a teacher or staff member at a public school in the state of California, you’re required to have a CPR certification. But CPR isn’t just for the classroom. It can be used any time and anywhere someone experiences a cardiac emergency. Fortunately, getting CPR certified is a simple process that doesn’t take much time or money. If you’re in need of certification, or if several years have passed since you last took the class, here’s how to get your certification before the start of the school year. Read More »

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New CPR Guidelines to be Released in October 2015


As medical science evolves and our understanding of best resuscitation practices deepens, the guidelines for CPR training are updated every five years. The American Heart Association, in conjunction with the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR), brings together experts from across the globe to develop new strategies and reach an ultimate consensus based on the current body of knowledge. When their findings are published, they form the basis of new training materials for all students of CPR – although these materials can take a little more time to be drafted and implemented. Changes, updates, and additions must be carefully understood and applied in order to give patients the best possible chance of survival in life-threatening situations.


What Kind of Changes Have They Made in the Past?


Guidelines have been updated every five years since the first were published in 1975. Often, the changes have been substantial – and of course, with a discipline that carries so many implications, even minor tweaks can have dramatic effects on care. In cardiopulmonary emergencies, every moment and every action carries great weight, and decisions have to be made as carefully as possible. Read More »

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CPR Demonstrations at the Firefighter’s Olympics

Image courtesy of California Fireman's Athletic Association

Image courtesy of California Fireman’s Athletic Association

Inaugurated in 1970, the Firefighter’s Olympics represent the best kind of community-building event: one that showcases the skills of some of its hardest-working citizens, brings people together, and teaches families how they can be better prepared for life’s challenges. SureFire CPR was proud to be on hand last month for the summer 2015 event in Los Angeles to help spread the word about the variety of emergency medical care firefighters are charged with delivering every day. Many of these techniques can be mastered by the public at large, and can make a life-saving difference for our families when taken to heart. Read More »

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How Do I Become a CPR Instructor?

First aid training

First things first: before taking steps to become an educator in emergency health services, understand that it’s usually part of a broader career path that includes other kinds of training and practice in your field. Most CPR instructors – especially those serving at premier institutions like SureFire CPR – start teaching only once they’ve garnered direct experience treating the public. Their training in fundamental on-the-scene protocols has become second nature due to the demands of their work, which include areas as diverse as firefighting and child care. If you have these kinds of skills or are on the road to acquiring them, then instructor training is for you – and millions of people need your help.

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How to Get Your PALS Certification ASAP

Little girl at the doctor for a checkup examination

PALS Certification allows you to deliver life-saving care to children.

Pediatric emergency health care is an exacting discipline, with rigorous protocols specific to the care of infants and children – the most vulnerable patients of all, especially in cases of sudden cardiac crises. Considering the delicateness of the challenge, when every second and every action matters, nothing is more important than being adequately prepared to deliver the best possible treatment in the event of an emergency that imperils the life of a child. For medical professionals charged with pediatric care, crisis training and certification are vital, and should be undertaken and renewed as often as possible. Read More »

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CPR All-Stars of 2015 – Collection of Top Stories from the Year


While it’s a well known fact that CPR saves lives, nearly 70 percent of American’s report they would feel helpless during a cardiac emergency. However, there are times where ordinary citizens sprang into action during these emergencies and ended up saving a life. Often, these stories of survival don’t gain the recognition they deserve, so we’re here to highlight a few amazing stores.


16 Year-Old Boy Saves Life

Often, when teens take CPR classes it’s for summer jobs or babysitting. They don’t expect to actually have to use the life-saving skills. However, Andrew Wilson, a 16-year-old boy in Illinois was credited for saving the life of another thanks to his CPR training. While visiting a hotel pool, he responded to a 7 year-old girl having a seizure. If it weren’t for his quick thinking with rescue breaths and compressions, the girl may not have survived.


Nurse and Off-Duty Officer Save Child

A day of relaxation and celebration at a local pool quickly turned into an emergency when a 6 year-old girl began to struggle in the water. After seeing nurse Amanda Darby dive into the water to retrieve the girl, Charles County Police Officer Robert Bell joined in the rescue. Their quick action is attributed to saving the girl‘s life.


Granddaughter Saves Grandmother

While at her grandmother’s house, 11 year-old Kendall Stilwell found her grandmother, Rita Lovato, in cardiac arrest. She promptly called 911, where the dispatcher talked her through CPR. Kendall continued to perform CPR until First Responders arrived. Thanks to her efforts, her grandmother made a full recovery.


With CPR doubling and sometimes tripling a victim’s chance of survival, stories such as these highlight the importance of CPR training to quickly react in the event of an emergency. The quick action and proper training directly resulted in saving the lives‘ of these three victims.

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What Is ACLS Certification for Nurses?

 male hands holding heart with ecg line

ACLS certification is a requirement for many health professionals, including nurses. This includes nurses who work in critical, urgent, or emergency care units, and in places where cardiac-related emergencies are common, such as senior care facilities. Even if you don’t work in these types of high-risk areas, it’s a good idea to obtain your ACLS certification.



ACLS is a program designed to enhance your life support skills while providing training in effective team dynamics and basic drug therapy. The main goal is to enable you to improve patient outcomes and sustain life by making efforts to keep neurological function intact during cardiovascular events such as stroke and heart attack. Read More »

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What Are the Number of AED Sales in the Past Decade?

AED sale, defibrillators for sale

AED sale, defibrillators for sale


When it comes to saving lives, few medical devices are as effective as AEDs, or automated external defibrillators. This explains why AED sales  have skyrocketed in the U.S over the past decade. In the year 2010, for example, industry experts reported nearly 100,000 automated external defibrillators AEDs were sold. Moreover, they predicted the market for defibrillators for sale would double every 24 months.


To understand why have AED sales have increased so dramatically, consider the following statistics: Read More »

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CPR Statistics in 2015 (Compared to 10 Years Ago)

Paramedics succor a man with heart attackOne of the most important CPR  statistics in 2015 is that 4 out of 5 cardiac emergencies happen at home. That’s why it’s so important to stay up to date on the latest CPR techniques.

The American Heart Association (AHA) updates its CPR guidelines every 5 years. So if you haven’t updated your CPR certification  since 2005, you have a lot to learn.  Here’s what has changed in the past 10 years. Read More »

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