A person having a cardiac arrest is more than twice as likely to survive if someone intervenes using CPR in the crucial first minutes, but too many Australians wouldn’t realise what was wrong or what to do.
New research released by the national Heart Foundation reveals one in five people don’t know how to recognise a cardiac arrest and 40 per cent wouldn’t feel confident enough to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Researcher Janet Bray from Melbourne’s Monash University has been looking at ways to improve cardiac arrest survival rates through community education.
As part of the research 175 triple zero call recordings in cases of cardiac arrest were reviewed where the patient did not receive CPR from a bystander.
‘‘We wanted to try and understand the reasons why people did not intervene (as) the caller got as far as receiving CPR instructions from the call operator in only 19 per cent of cases,’’ Dr Bray said.
The Heart Foundation estimates there are 11000 to 15000 cases of cardiac arrest each each year in Australia, and 10000 people die from it.
Heart Foundation VIC Board Member and cardiologist Nick Cox says learning CPR could potentially be lifesaving.
‘‘We know that every minute without CPR, your chances of surviving a cardiac arrest go down by 10 per cent, and after 10 minutes without it there is little chance of survival at all,’’ Dr Cox said.
A person can have a cardiac arrest without having a heart attack, but a heart attack — caused by a blockage in a coronary artery — can lead to a cardiac arrest.
A cardiac arrest is a problem with the electrical system of the heart; the heart suddenly stops beating, resulting in no blood flow to the brain and other vital organs.