One in three UK adults would be unlikely to perform CPR if they saw someone suffer a cardiac arrest, according to new figures released to mark Restart a Heart Day – because they don’t feel confident enough.
More than 4,000 UK adults were surveyed by the University of Warwick Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Outcome (OHCAO) and YouGov. Participants were asked questions about their knowledge of CPR, and whether they would feel confident in performing it on someone who had suffered a cardiac arrest – 30 per cent they would not be..
The British Heart Foundation (BHF), which commissioned the research, said the figure shows that lives are still being put at risk every day because not enough people know how to perform CPR. To combat the issue, 200,000 people in the UK will be trained in CPR to mark national Restart a Heart Day on October 16.
Although 96% of those asked said they were likely to call an ambulance if they saw someone had collapsed and had stopped breathing, the time it takes for the emergency services to arrive can mean the difference between life and death.
Brain tissue starts to die within three minutes after the heart stops, due to a lack of oxygen. Early CPR can more than double a person’s chances of survival, and can buy the time needed before paramedics arrive and provide care.
Signs that someone is suffering cardiac arrest are:
They won’t be conscious
They won’t be responsive
They won’t be breathing, or breathing normally.
The BHF says if you witness a cardiac arrest, it’s crucial to call 999 and start CPR immediately. Follow these simple steps:
- Step 1: Shake and shout (to see if a person responds)
- Step 2: Check for normal breathing
- Step 3: Call 999
- Step 4: Give 30 chest compressions
- Step 5: Give two rescue breaths
- Step 6: Repeat until an ambulance arrives
Restart a Heart Day is organised jointly by the BHF, the Resuscitation Council (UK), St John Ambulance, the British Red Cross, Yorkshire Ambulance Service, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and ambulance trusts and fire and rescue services across the country.
For the first time this year, the day will be marked globally, as training and awareness events take place for World Restart a Heart Day. The UK campaign, now in its fifth year, was launched after figures revealed that fewer than one in 10 people in Britain survive an out of hospital cardiac arrest, due to low bystander CPR rates. In countries where CPR is taught in schools, as many as one in four survive.
Simon Gillespie, chief executive at the British Heart Foundation, said: “You may not feel confident performing CPR if you haven’t been trained or you don’t remember your training; but without your early action the chances someone will survive a cardiac arrest are virtually zero.
“The BHF is striving to improve survival rates by creating a Nation of Lifesavers through our CPR training programmes. By raising awareness on Restart a Heart Day, we hope more people will see that CPR really can be the difference between life and death and that doing something is always better than doing nothing.”
Note: This article originally contained a stock image showing a man performing CPR from behind the patient. This has been changed to show a woman performing CPR kneeling next to the patient, which is the recommended position for CPR.