• Question: If a heart were to stop is there a way that you know so far that could resusitate it?

    Asked by snakeeyed to Amylou, Maria, Mark L, Mark U on 22 Jun 2012.
    • Photo: Maria Konstantaki

      Maria Konstantaki answered on 22 Jun 2012:

      Yes, if the heart stops beating there are ways to revive it. One of the ways is to apply compressions to the centre of the chest at the bottom of the sternum (15 compressions) and then one mouth to mouth breath. The compressions keep the blood flowing and the breath puts oxygen into the patient’s body. This method is called cardiopulmonary rescucitation or simply CPR. The other method is to shock the heart with a defibrillator. It may be the case that the heart does not stop completely but it goes into fibrillation (irregular beating where its function is affected and cannot pump blood efficiently). By shocking it with an electrical signal you cause the heart to stop momentarily and then start again beating normally. This method is what you see on tv in series like ER, House, Grey’s Anatomy etc. ‘All clear, bang!’