When sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) strikes, every second counts. Nearby people need to take effective action within the first 3-4 minutes, known as the “Survival Gap” to give the patient a good chance of survival. Every bystander has the ability to act heroically and potentially save a life – and many have.
Bystanders Taking Action in New Zealand
Around the world, approximately 16,500 SCA events occur every year – around 2,000 of which are in New Zealand. This translates to about 5 people per day. These SCA events happen far away from hospitals and clinics, with 75-80% occurring in the spaces where we should feel safest – our homes.
When SCA occurs, chances for survival decrease by 10% for every minute that passes. The brain and organ systems of the body simply cannot survive without the heart pumping oxygen to them, and permanent damage starts to occur after 3-4 minutes. With ambulances in New Zealand taking an average of 8 minutes to reach a patient in an urban community and 13 minutes to reach one in a rural or outlying area, it’s almost impossible for emergency services to get to an SCA patient in time.
By being nearby, bystanders are in the critical position to provide assistance that can potentially keep oxygen flowing and restart their heart, giving them the support and medical care needed to prolong the patient’s life until a medical team can take over. There are some truly incredible stories of bystanders providing rapid, lifesaving treatment in SCA events, including the story behind the foundation of the CellAED® portable defibrillator.
In New Zealand, an impressive 76% of SCA patients received bystander CPR, extending the Survival Gap and helping to prevent permanent neurological and organ damage by keeping oxygenated blood flowing to the patient’s organs. Unfortunately, just 4% received defibrillation from a bystander before the arrival of an ambulance – the only treatment for SCA and the only way to restart their heart. There are a number of reasons for this, from a lack of awareness of how to recognise SCA or what to do in an SCA emergency, to a lack of access to easy-to-use portable automated external defibrillators (AEDs).
Bystander Intervention is Key in the SCA Chain of Survival
Because SCA can strike with little or no warning to people of all ages, including children, knowing the symptoms of SCA, how to perform CPR and having access to an AED is critical to saving more lives more often. Whether we are at home, at work, school, on holiday or the shops, we all need to be aware that there is a potential for SCA all around us – and have the training and confidence to act.
DefibsPlus is here to help make that happen, assisting everyday people with little or no First Aid or medical training to develop the potential to become life-savers. By supplying easy-to-use portable defibrillators that require just 3 easy steps to activate, as well as free defibrillator and CPR training, we’re ready to empower you, your family and co-workers to create heart safe communities by helping more people to save more lives, more often.