Respiratory arrest vs Cardiac arrest

What is the difference between respiratory and cardiac arrest?  The Cardiac is the heart and respiratory is the lungs. Both can cause death.  

Common respiratory arrest is from downing, choking or an asthma attack. Many times the patient has a pulse, however in the latest CPR guidelines, a pulse is not checked unless you are a healthcare provider.  CPR is not dangerous if attempted when not needed or in respiratory arrest.  If it is not needed, the person will wake up and it is clear to stop CPR.

Cardiac arrest is when there is blockage in the heart and blood is not able to circulate properly.  The person has a very low or no pulse and is unresponsive and not breathing.  CPR is needed and also an AED if available.  

911 should be called in either situation and is life-threatening.  If the person is choking and awake, provide the Heimlich for anyone one-year-old and older or back blows and compressions for anyone under 1 year old.

Learn CPR to know the difference and how to help in these emergencies.

Many people ask about the new anti-choking devices that work like a plunger to pull the object out of the mouth.  My response is always that the Heimlich and back blow/compression have a long history of being very successful and time is so critical.  The American Heart Association does not recommend any of these choking devices.  It would be sad to waste time on using them when there is something proven and used for so many years that works very well and is included in all CPR classes.

Remember with all choking that 911 should be called immediately.  If you are home alone, call 911 and unlock your door.  Put all dogs away in a locked room so EMS can enter immediately.  Never go to a private area alone out in the community or in your home because no one will know that you are in trouble until it is too late.