I would guess that the following are the most common and well-known, as I am but a layperson, but have not only heard of these but been trained in them yearly as a counselor and teacher:
- CPR (cardio pulmonary resuscitation): The most basic and probably most important one to know. Consists of the first responder doing manual chest compressions and/or mouth to mouth rescue breathing. (Procedure)
- CCR (cardio cerebral resuscitation): very similar to CPR but without the rescue breathing. (Procedure)
- AED (automated external defibrillator): a portable electronic device that can detect cardiac arrest and then treat it with defibrillation - electrical therapy. (device)
- Pacemaker: once a person has experienced cardiac arrest (or a heart attack) a pacemaker is often a more long term and surgical solution to abnormal heart rhythms. (device)
Cardiac arrest means the heart has either quit beating or the activity of the myocardium is insufficient to maintain a reasonable perfusing blood pressure. There are many reasons one would experience cardiac arrest, but by far the most common are related to myocardial arrhythmia's (disturbances in the normal electrical rhythm of the heart).
1. When the heart has stopped this is called asystole (in the movies...flatline). This means that there is no pulse. Treatment of asystole is CPR and IV or intracardiac epinephrine (dosage depends on the age and weight of the victim).
2. Ventricular fibrillation or VF, this may be "coarse" or "fine" VF. Treatment consists of defibrillation with a defibrillator and CPR.
3. Ventricular tachycardia or VT, may be pulseless VT or VT with a pulse. Treatment consists of defibrillation, CPR, and anti-arrythmics like IV Bretylium or Lidocaine. Note that in patients in VT that have a palpable pulse, the pulse will not last and in a few seconds (not minutes) the pulse will be lost.
4. Supraventricular tachycardia or SVT. Treatment consists of medications first (too many to list), defibrillation, then CPR if the above have failed.
Note that AED's or automated external defibrillators are ONLY used for VF. Also note that pacemakers have absolutely nothing to do with cardiac arrest but may be used later if the patients condition indicates pacing, which is quite rare.