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Cardiac arrest: Would you know what to do?

Cardiac arrest is a critical medical emergency, where the heart stops pumping blood around the body. Unless treated immediately, it leads to death within minutes. It doesn't just affect the older generation either, every week 12 seemingly fit and health young people, aged 35 years and under, will die from Young Sudden Cardiac Death.

Would you be able to recognise the signs of someone suffering a cardiac arrest? Would you know what to do? Do you know where your nearest defibrillator is?

There are more than 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the UK each year, with a less than 1/10 survival rate. Every minute without cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation, the chances of survival are reduced by up to 10%. Performing CPR can more than double the chances of survival in some cases. It is estimated that public-areas defibrillators are used in less than 10% in out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, and this is due to people not knowing the signs and not knowing what to do.

These are shocking statistics and it all points to one thing, if we can spot the signs of cardiac arrest and intervene, then we can hugely increase their chances of survival.

Having recently refreshed my emergency first aid skills, I feel I would have the confidence in knowing how to identify someone having a cardiac arrest, intervene accordingly with CPR and the use of a defibrillator, and get them the help they need.

If you are unsure, then take a look at this link so you have a basic idea of what to look out for and do. It would also be worth noting where your nearest defibrillator is in case you need it.


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