2 June 2014
Teaching the public, including schoolchildren, about how to resuscitate someone after cardiac arrest could save up to 100,000 lives every year, according to new research.
Around 350,000 lives are lost every year in Europe due to 'out-of-hospital cardiac arrest' (OOH-CA), making it the third leading cause of death behind all cancers and cardiovascular issues.
Professor Bernd Böttiger, from the European Resuscitation Council (ERC), believes 100,000 of these could be prevented if the public is taught how to resuscitate a person who has had OOH-CA.
Bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) performed by members of the public increases survival by two to three times, however, today it is only done in one in five out-of-hospital cardiac arrests across Europe on average.
The survival rate of those suffering from a OOH-CA is low as six per cent in countries where bystander CPR is minimal and as high as 40 per cent were it is practiced often.
Professor Böttiger commented: "The reason for these low overall survival rates is that, without any form of resuscitation, the brain starts to die around 5 minutes after the cardiac arrest. This is usually sooner than most physicians and paramedics can arrive to help.
“Thus members of the public, by starting resuscitation, can really make a difference that can save someone's life. 60-80 per cent of OOH-CA are witnessed by someone, and those people can help if they are shown how."
Posted by Jeanette Royston
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