CPR Attempt and Sudden Cardiac Arrest Rates in the UK compared to Europe
The unfortunate nature of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) makes it difficult to preemptively guess when it’s going to occur. With no prior symptoms or pre-requisites, SCA is the world’s biggest killer with over 6 million associated deaths per year due to ventricular malfunctions.
The global survival rate is less than 1% worldwide, and around the 7-8% 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, poor diets lacking in essential minerals such as magnesium and potassium, a lack of appropriate types of exercise and increased smoking rates have all contributed towards the increase in SCA fatalities.
To reduce the number of SCA events, awareness, training and action around these topics need to be greatly increased.
As mentioned, the 7% survival rate in the UK seems exemplary when compared to the 1% globally. However, how does the UK measure up against other developed nations? Research conducted by European Resuscitation Council found that less than half of bystanders (or less than 50%) in the UK would intervene when they witness someone collapse. Imagine that!
This statistic that is also substantially lower than figures for other countries and regions with comparable demographics; the CPR rate in Norway is 73%, Seattle 66% & North Holland 60%. This in turn, justifies as to why their survival rates are far higher, 25%, 22% & 21% respectably.
In the United Kingdom, first aid is not currently on the national curriculum (although this will be in Secondary Education from 2020), meaning children don’t currently, and haven't had so for some time, the opportunity to learn CPR and how to confidently use a modern defibrillator, call the emergency services promptly and help to confidently manage the scene prior to EMS arriving.
Teaching and educating the younger generations of our society to deal knowledgeably and confidently with cardiac emergencies (and even to sufficiently recognize them) is surely to be seen as a good investment in the future.
This concept has been adopted in Sweden & Denmark and they have had tremendous positive 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, and learn how to develop awareness of appropriate prevention measures for the general public.
The statistics clearly indicate, as well as other studies, that change is promptly required in order to raise the standards of our European counterparts, and potentially save a significant number of lives annually.
What do you think needs to change?