A heart attack victim has little chances of survival unless immediate medical assistance is provided. The victim should be offered assistance in a certain order.

This is known as ‘chain of survival’. What exactly is involved in the chain of survival? How does it help a heart attack victim? You will know the answers in this article.

The Chain of Survival: An Overview

The concept of chain of survival has an important bearing when it comes to saving the life of a heart attack victim. It was introduced in 1991 when the Advanced Cardiac Life Support Subcommittee and the Emergency Cardiac Care Committee published an article titled: Improving Survival from Sudden Cardiac Arrest: The Chain of Survival Concept.

The committee members had identified different principles that should be adopted when assisting a cardiac arrest victim. The chain of survival consists of four vital steps, or links, that should be performed by anyone who has learned basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) skills. These four links together form the chain of command.

Let’s take a look at the four crucial links of the chain of survival that increases the odds of a heart attack victim surviving the ordeal.

Step 1. Provide Early Assistance

Immediate assistance is the first link in the chain of survival. A heart attack victim should be offered immediate assistance. The death clock starts ticking for a victim right after a heart attack. The sooner the victim receives assistance, the more the chances of survival.

Step 2. Perform CPR

The first thing you should do when you see a person suffering from a heart attack is to call the emergency number. In case the victim is not breathing and there is no pulse, you should start administering CPR. This is the next important link in the chain of survival.

Performing CPR greatly increase the odds of a person surviving a heart attack. You should continue to perform CPR until the person again starts to breathe or the medical team arrives.

Step 3. Perform Defibrillation

The third important link in the chain of survival is defibrillation. This refers to using an automatic external defibrillator (AED) device. The device is used to deliver an electrical shock to the heart. Using the AED device can help restore normal heart rhythm.

Step 4:  Advanced Medical Assistance

The last link in the chain of survival is receiving assistance by trained emergency medical service (EMS) personnel. There is no substitution for advanced medical assistance. The heart attack victim’s condition needs to be stabilized through the administration of oxygen, medication, and other advanced protocols.


The Chain of Survival refers to critical steps that can increase the odds of survival of a heart attack victim. CPR is an important lifesaving technique that can be used in different types of life-threatening emergencies.

CPR can increase the chances of survival in case of a stroke or cardiac arrest. In addition, the technique can also help a heart attack victim suffering from tachyarrhythmia or abnormal heart rhythm. You can learn more about CPR and first aid through CPR classes online.