Every year in the UK there are more than 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests. The survival rate from these in the UK is around 1 in every 10. In parts of the United States, Seattle in particular, the survival rates are far greater.
This means that only around 3000 people will survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest each year in the UK. In parts of the US that figure is closer to, and sometimes in excess of 15,000 per 30,000 arrests. So why are survival rates in the US so much higher?
Part of the reason is high quality bystander CPR, and the availability of public access defibrillators. This is backed up by high quality public education programmes, teaching people how to carry out CPR and use defibrillators.
On Saturday the 17th of March 2012, during an FA Cup game against Tottenham Hotspur, 23-year-old Fabrice Muamba of Bolton Wanderers suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and collapsed on the pitch.
Medics were quickly on the scene, and CPR was administered. Fabrice survived, and went on to become an ambassador for CPR education, and the placing of defibrillators in public places.
Last weekend we were given a stark reminder of the fact that a cardiac arrest can strike down anyone at any time, and without warning, when Danish footballer Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch during a European Championship game against Finland.
Again, medics were quickly on the scene, and Christian received CPR and defibrillation. Thanks to the quick actions of many, including the referee, and Christian’s teammates, he was conscious when he left the field.
Thankfully he is now on the road to recovery, but this was yet another reminder of the importance of simple interventions.
CPR and the use of public access defibrillators are simple skills that are easy to learn, and it is the simple skills that save lives.
As a bystander giving CPR, you are giving someone a chance of survival that they may not get without it. I have taught CPR to all age groups for many years, and I believe that everybody should learn.
You can learn the basics by taking our free online course. This course will give you the information and confidence you need to learn how to save a life.