Chain of Survival

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Time is critical when Sudden Cardiac Arrest strikes. Every minute without defibrillation, survival rates plunge up to 10 percent. Quick action by the first person on-scene can truly be the difference between life and death.

In recognition of the importance of early action and early defibrillation, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada established the Chain of Survival to depict a systems approach to Emergency Cardiac Care. The chain is only as strong as the weakest link. If any link is weak or missing, the chances of survival decrease.

The Chain of Survival has seven lifesaving links:



Healthy Choices
in lifestyle can help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and injury.

Early Recognition of the warning signs for heart disease and stroke, and of illness and injury in infants and children, can reduce delays to treatment.

Early Access to Emergency Medical Services (EMS) by calling 9-1-1 or the local emergency phone number brings trained medical help to the scene.

Early Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is started as soon as possible on a person who does not have visible signs of circulation (normal breathing, coughing, or movement) and has no pulse, to ensure that the vital organs receive oxygen until paramedics arrive.

Early Defibrillation shocks a heart that has stopped beating effectively and allows the heart to re-set to a normal rhythm.

Early Advanced Care by paramedics from Emergency Medical Services may be provided at the scene, on the way to the hospital, or by doctors and nurses at the hospital.

Early Rehabilitation following a critical event such as a heart attack or stroke may help the survivor, caregivers, and family face new challenges and return the survivor to a productive life in the community.


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