Survival rate for out-of-hospital heart attacks ‘less than 10%’
British Heart Foundation says lives lost because onlookers lack necessary CPR skills
File photo of retired footballer Fabrice Muamba at a lesson to teach children CPR skills organised by the British Heart Foundation. Photograph: Matt Alexander/PA Wire
Fewer than one in 10 people who suffer a cardiac arrest outside of hospital survive, a leading charity has warned.
Hundreds of lives are also being needlessly lost because members of the public are too afraid to intervene.
Jayne Murray from the British Heart Foundation said: “Knowing simple CPR skills is vital to ensure that every person has the best chance of survival.”
In Northern Ireland, an estimated 1,400 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur every yea, but bystanders lack the confidence and skills to help.
A survey commissioned by the foundation found that 59 per cent of people feared making the situation worse while just 18 per cent could identify the signs of a cardiac arrest.
Ms Murray added: “It is a huge concern that so few people have the skills and confidence to perform CPR and this is undoubtedly costing lives.”
The chance of survival is slashed by 10 per cent for every minute without CPR or defibrillation.
After 10 minutes without appropriate help, there is, at best, only a 2 per cent chance of making it.
In many cases where people do take action, bystanders had to be prompted by emergency service operators to act, delaying vital CPR and further reducing the chances of survival.
To coincide with European Restart a Heart Day, the foundation has launched a new campaign to have life-saving CPR skills taught in all UK secondary schools.
It also wants funding for the delivery of the community resuscitation strategy which was launched last summer.
Ms Murray said: “By funding and implementing this resuscitation strategy, families will not needlessly lose loved ones and lives will be saved.”