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Latest health and behavior news and advice from the veterinarians at Tufts University.

Features May 2014 Issue

Which Goes First, the Heart Or the Lungs?

When people die on the surgery table, it’s usually a result of cardiac arrest. The heart stops after beating erratically (fibrillation), and that is followed by a cessation of breathing. Dogs tend to have cardiac arrest, on the other hand, because they stop breathing to begin with. Either way, it’s cardiopulmonary arrest, “cardio” standing for the heart and “pulmonary” signifying the lungs. That’s why there’s both a “C” and a “P” in the CPR that stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Both organs need to get going again for the animal to come back to life.

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