Cardiac arrest is one of the world’s biggest killers. While there are no official statistics in South Africa, it is believed that 100,000 people suffer cardiac arrest every year – and 80% of these take place outside of a medical facility. It happens when the heart’s electrical functioning malfunctions, and can be caused by anything from myocardial infaction (heart attack) to blunt force injury to the chest.
Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone of any age or fitness levels. It can also happen anywhere – while out shopping, enjoying a coffee, or even boarding a airplane. There are far too many cases of South Africans who could have been saved but weren’t because bystanders were not able to help.
The window of opportunity to save a life is very small: between 3 to 4 minutes. Even if you call the paramedics, there’s a good chance they won’t arrive in time. Starting CPR immediately can double or even triple the chances of a patient’s survival, especially if you use a device like a Beaty, which tells you whether you’re doing it effectively. Using an AED within 3 minutes will dramatically increase the patient’s chance of survival until trained medical professionals arrive.
Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time. “Are you heart safe?” Ask the question, get the answers, and you could save a life.