How Long Would a Person's Heart Have To Be Stopped Before Medics Wouldn't Try to Revive Them? | Summary and Q&A

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February 22, 2018
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How Long Would a Person's Heart Have To Be Stopped Before Medics Wouldn't Try to Revive Them?

TL;DR

The duration to revive someone whose heart has stopped varies based on factors such as CPR timing, medication use, and the cause of cardiac arrest.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How long does it take for brain cells to start dying after the heart has stopped?

Brain cells begin to die after approximately 4-6 minutes of no blood flow. Exceptions exist for situations like hypothermia, where timeframes are extended, or if good CPR is being performed, which provides some blood supply to the brain.

Q: What role does the electrical function of the heart play in determining resuscitation efforts?

Electrical function is essential for resuscitation success. If there is electrical activity in the heart and chances of brain recovery, resuscitation efforts should continue, even if it has been 45 minutes since the heart stopped.

Q: Are there different medications and treatments to improve the heart's electrical function?

Yes, medications like epinephrine or vasopressin, combined with good CPR compression, can be used. The timeframe for their effectiveness varies, with epinephrine losing effectiveness after approximately 5 minutes and vasopressin taking around 20 minutes to have a reaction.

Q: What situations call for fixing the underlying cause of cardiac arrest?

Pulseless electrical activity (PEA) can be caused by various factors. Treating the underlying cause involves addressing hypovolemia, hydrogen ion imbalance, potassium levels, blood sugar, hypothermia, toxins, tamponade, tension pneumothorax, thrombosis, or trauma. Each treatment takes its own amount of time.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The length of time to revive a person whose heart has stopped depends on factors such as how quickly CPR was started, the quality of CPR performed, medications used, comorbid factors, and the cause of cardiac arrest.

  • Brain cells begin to die after approximately 4-6 minutes of no blood flow, but exceptions exist for situations like hypothermia or if good CPR is being performed.

  • Electrical function of the heart is crucial, and if there is still electrical activity and chances of brain recovery, resuscitation efforts should continue.

  • Different medications and treatments can be attempted to improve the heart's electrical function, each with varying timeframes for effectiveness.

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