Cardiac arrest treatment

A Beefeater learns how to use defibrillators placed at the Tower of London

When the heart has stopped pumping blood around the body (known as a cardiac arrest) there is a period of time immediately afterwards when it can be restarted again.

If you are able to carry out basic life-support by doing chest compressions and giving the ‘kiss of life’, you will help to keep the blood flowing around the patient’s body and improve the levels of oxygen in their blood.

However, giving an electric shock to the heart greatly increases the chances of it beating again. This process is called defibrillation, and the machine used to shock the heart is called a defibrillator.

Every one of our vehicles—from an ambulance to a bicycle—carries a defibrillator so that our staff can shock a patient’s heart when they have a cardiac arrest.