More than 30,000 Australians suffer an out-of hospital cardiac arrest each year, and almost 90% of them do not survive, with less than half of people who suffer a sudden cardiac arrest in the community have someone step in who can perform CPR or use a defibrillator before the arrival of an ambulance.
Bystander CPR and defibrillation using a public access AED in the minutes directly after a cardiac arrest more than doubles the chance of surviving a cardiac arrest.
In a recent study, just over half (56%) of Australian adults reported ever having undertaken CPR training, however only 22% had current (within 1 year) training. Only half (49.3%) of Australians stated they would provide CPR to a stranger. In those that responded “NO” (12.3%) the most common response was not being trained in CPR (43.2%) or not feeling confident (19.7%). Fear (6.8%), a physical inability (3.8%) or concern over legalities (3.9%) were other factors mentioned.
Alarmingly the study also found a low understanding of cardiac arrest or being able to identify the actions involved with the chain of survival. Only 16% of respondents could identify the difference between a cardiac arrest and a heart attack.
Raising awareness of cardiac arrest and CPR training is essential across all communities. A focus on targeting populations less likely to receive training particularly those that are older, who are at higher risk of future cardiac events is essentially important and should be focused.