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Attack, arrest aren't the same

July 03, 2006

Re: "Manual CPR May Be More Effective Than Devices" [June 19]: As a Los Angeles County licensed EMT with advanced training, a candidate for paramedic school and a CPR instructor for the American Red Cross, I was disturbed by the brief on manual chest compressions. I was concerned that you were making cardiac arrest and heart attack one in the same. I teach my CPR students the distinct difference between the two. Heart attack has to do with the "plumbing" and cardiac arrest has to do with the "electrical."

Neither is connected to the other. In a heart attack, the victim is responsive, has severe chest pain and profuse sweating. One does not do chest compressions on a victim when the heart is working. In cardiac arrest, the victim is unresponsive and the heart is not functioning. Chest compressions will help the heart to continue pumping blood.

STEVE R. JACKSON

Van Nuys

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