How To Treat A Pregnant Woman in Sudden Cardiac Arrest

How To Treat A Pregnant Woman in Sudden Cardiac Arrest

August 24, 2021


Sudden cardiac arrest can strike anyone, at any time! This includes a woman who is pregnant. When a woman is pregnant, make sure to remember the Chain of Survival.

Activation of Emergency Response

The first step in the chain of survival includes assessing the scene and activating the emergency response team. In the United States, that means calling 9-1-1. If a woman is pregnant, make sure to tell the dispatcher that the woman in sudden cardiac arrest is pregnant. This can alert them to send additional EMS
providers and also take the woman to a hospital that is prepared to perform an emergency C-section if that is necessary.

Early CPR

Provide CPR to a pregnant woman just as you would to any other cardiac arrest patient. Provide compressions at a rate of 100-120 per minute. If comfortable, provide rescue breaths. If you are not comfortable providing rescue breaths, just provide chest compressions. Chest compressions are done in the same location they are done on all victims, on the center of the chest on the breast bone.

Rapid Defibrillation

It is imperative that an AED is still used on a pregnant woman. If an AED is not used, it is highly likely that the fetus will not survive. Use the AED as soon as it arrives. As always, the quicker the AED is used, the higher the chances are for survival. Pads are still placed on the upper right side of the chest under the collar bone and on the left side of the chest under the armpit.

If a pregnant woman is revived following a shock, she should be placed on her left side which will improve blood flow to the heart and to the fetus.

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