Could you restart a heart?
Monday 16th October 2017 is European Restart a Heart Day
If someone on the tube next to you collapsed would you know what to do? If a member of your family’s heart stopped while they were at home would you be able to provide life-saving CPR until an ambulance arrived?
This is a topic very close to my own heart as a number of members of my own family have a heart problem called cardiomyopathy which means they are at higher risk of their heart stopping unexpectedly.
Did you know that the survival from a person’s heart stopping (cardiac arrest) when they are outside of hospital is less than 10% in the UK? Survival rates in Norway however are above 25%.
So why the difference? One major difference is the lack of widespread training in CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation – chest compressions and rescue breaths) in the UK. Bystander CPR is carried out in only about 40% of cases here. Starting CPR straight away can improve survival 2-3 fold.
Emergency First Aid training is not currently on the national curriculum for state funded schools. In November 2015 this was due to be debated in parliament but this was unfortunately blocked.
European Restart a Heart day is the biggest initiative of its kind in the world. Last year 100,000 secondary school children were taught how to give lifesaving CPR. This year the aim is to train 150,000 children across Europe in one day.
As doctors, all of us at Doctor Bear have had to carry out CPR many times. We know that not everyone can be saved but have seen the difference bystander CPR can make not only to survival but to survival without long term disability. Thousands more lives can be saved by training people how to do recognise cardiac arrest and carry out CPR.
At Doctor Bear we are passionate about providing parents and carers with the knowledge and skills to provide emergency First Aid to save a life. In 2018 we plan to start FREE courses for children. Look out for us at local Christmas fairs where we will be running free practical sessions for adults and children.