New research indicates that nearly 30% of adults in the United Kingdom are unlikely to perform CPR in the event of witnessing a cardiac arrest. These figures were released to mark the 'Restart a Heart Day' programme, an annual campaign which aims to raise awareness regarding the importance of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in saving lives.
Researchers from the University of Warwick Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Outcome Registry team in collaboration with YouGov surveyed >4000 adults in the United Kingdom. Participants were assessed for their knowledge of CPR and their confidence in performing a CPR if they witnessed a cardiac arrest.
Although 96% of the respondents said they were likely to call an ambulance if they saw that an individual had collapsed and was not breathing, this is clearly not enough to improve the person's chances of survival. Since the brain tissue starts to die within 3 minutes of cardiac inactivity, early CPR is crucial to improve the chances of survival and can buy the much time needed before the arrival of paramedics.
Less than a tenth of individuals in Britain survive an out of hospital cardiac arrest, due to low bystander CPR rates. Evidence shows that campaigns like Restart a Heart Day could have a substantial impact in improving rates of bystander CPR by up to 10% in a couple of years. "Raising awareness and providing more people with the confidence and training they need on Restart a Heart Day is key and will save more lives," said Dr. Matt Kearney, National Clinical Director for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at NHS England.