Monday, 19 November 2012

Chances of surviving cardiac arrest in England 'dire'

Chances of surviving cardiac arrest in England 'dire': NHS data show just 18.5% who suffer cardiac arrest while not in hospital survive, but immediate CPR by bystanders could improve outcome.

Fewer than one in five people who suffer a survivable cardiac arrest receive the life-saving intervention they need from people nearby, according to NHS figures that heart campaigners describe as "dire".
In some parts of England, just one in 14 people who collapse with a cardiac arrest live, according to figures compiled from patient records kept by the country's 12 regional ambulance services. In the East Midlands, ambulance crews managed to save only three of the 40 people they were called to as a result of cardiac arrest in 2011-12 – a 7.5% survival rate.
Survival chances are highest in Wiltshire and Gloucestershire, where one in three such patients were later discharged from hospital alive after being resuscitated by ambulance teamsrecovered. But across England as a whole in June, only 58 of the 314 casualties attended by paramedics lived – just 18.5%.
Survival rates are poor by international standards. In Seattle in the United States, where many citizens are trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and Stavanger in Norway, where pupils learn CPR at school, survival from a shockable cardiac arrest that someone witnesses is 52%, as bystanders are far more likely to help and know what to do.
The high UK death rate will only come down if more onlookers are able to administer immediate CPR, according to the British Heart Foundation (BHF), which obtained the data. Medical professionals attend about 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the UK every year and the survival rate is thought to be as low as 10%, but most of these are severe cases beyond CPR intervention or where the person has suffered an attack alone.
Cardiac arrest is different from a heart attack. The heart suffers an electrical malfunction, which causes it to beat irregularly. Casualties become unconscious and lose a pulse within seconds and can die within minutes unless they receive treatment. A heart attack is triggered by a loss of blood flow through a blocked artery.
"Most people can survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, but only if they receive immediate CPR. Sadly, in the vast majority of cases this doesn't happen," said Professor Peter Weissberg, the BHF's medical director. "We know hands-only CPR works, but more bystanders need to step in if we're ever to see the majority become the minority."
The BHF knows of 28 people who are alive as a direct result of bystanders carrying out CPR because they had seen its much-acclaimed educational advertisement, launched earlier this year and starring the actor Vinnie Jones. Watched 2.4m times online, it shows how hard and fast chest compressions to the beat of the Bee Gees' disco classic Stayin' Alive can keep someone alive until medical help arrives. The charity is launching a new phase of the campaign on Monday, highlighting the 28 survivors and again featuring Jones, to try to encourage greater bystander intervention. The Guardian

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