The unfortunate nature of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) makes it impossible to preemptively guess when it’s going to strike. With no prior symptoms or pre-requisites, SCA is the world’s biggest killer; over 6 million deaths are accounted to per year due to ventricular tachyarrhythmias. The global survival rate is less than 1% worldwide, and around the 7% mark in the UK.
Although there are no symptoms, there are a few things individuals can do to reduce their chance of suffering from an SCA. Over the past few decades, inappropriate diets, lack of exercises and increased smoking rates have all contributed towards the increase in SCA fatalities. To reduce the number of SCA events, awareness around these topics need to be greatly increased.
As mentioned, the 7% survival rate in the UK seems pretty good compared to the 1% globally, however, how does the UK stack up against other developed nations? A worrying statistic, research conducted by Resuscitation Council found that less than half of bystanders in the UK would intervene when they witness someone collapse. A statistic that is substantially lower than figures for other countries & regions with comparable demographics; CPR rate in Norway is 73%, Seattle 66% & North Holland 60%. Which in turn, justifies as to why their survival rates are far higher, 25%, 22% & 21% respectably.
Here in the UK, first aid is not on the national curriculum, meaning children don’t have the opportunity to learn CPR and how to confidently use a defibrillator. Teaching and educating the younger generations of our society to deal knowledgeably and confidently with cardiac emergencies is an investment in the future. This concept has been adopted in Sweden & Denmark and they have had tremendous results.
In 2005, Danish 11-year-olds began mandatory CPR training in School, by 2011, bystander CPR doubled and out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival tripled! Sweden currently invest more in their healthcare than any other country in Europe, with this, exceptional prevention methods have been put in place and survival rates are double what they were 20 years ago.
To make any significant change, the UK needs to dramatically increase its awareness and education on cardiac arrest, the statistics above are far more proof than is ever needed. What do you think needs to change?