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Understanding the Meaning of Chain of Survival

Background to Chain of Survival

Increasing the chance of survival of an individual that has gone cardiac arrest is an important goal of treatment. But this cannot be achieved if prompt first aid and CPR will not be performed to the victim. This is how the chain of survival came into existence. If you have ever attended a CPR or a first aid course, then you will likely have an idea about what chain of survival is. But if not, let us take a further discussion about the first aid chain of survival.

According to The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, the chain of survival is a series of events that should be chronologically performed to a victim of cardiac arrest to maximize his or her chance of survival. When the chain of survival techniques is performed in motion, it can dramatically reduce overall mortality rates of patients who had cardiac arrests. It was given the term “chain” because it is most effective when all of the links in the chain are strong (or followed accordingly).

What are the Two Main Goals of the Chain of Survival?

  • To increase response rates to cardiac emergencies
  • To improve the long-term cardiac health of the casualty

What are the Four Main Links to the Chain of Survival?

  • Early Access and Recognition – In this kind of emergency, time is of the essence, so it is necessary for first aiders to know how to recognize the impending signs of a cardiac arrest. The earlier they recognize the condition, the faster they can get access to emergency medical assistance.
First Aid, CPR and AED Training Courses in Saskatoon

Push hard and push fast when giving compressions.

  • Early Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation – This is where CPR should be administered to the victim. First aiders need to maintain and update their CPR skills in order to be ready for any disastrous event like a cardiac arrest. Performing chest compressions and rescue breathing can help prolong the life of the victim, while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.
  • Early Defibrillation – Because cardiac arrest patients are experiencing ventricular fibrillation (or the condition where electrical heart pulses stops creating signals for their pumping action), providing early defibrillation with the help of automated external defibrillators is the third link to the chain. It is one of the most important factors to a better survival rate of the victim.
  • Post Resuscitation and Advanced Care – This kind of care is usually provided by hospitals and emergency services as soon as the first aid provider has already performed all the important steps mentioned above. This one focuses on the long-term management and cardiac care to improve the quality of life.

Related Video on Chain of Survival:


“What is the Chain of Survival?” First aid for free. Retrieved online on August 15, 2014 from

“CPR and the Chain of Survival.” Halton Region. Retrieved online on August 15, 2014 from

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