Every year more than seven million people globally suffer from a cardiac arrest with no warning, and only 12% of those affected actually survive.
In Australia, over 33,000 people experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest every year. Less than 9% will survive. Between 75 – 80% of all cardiac arrests occur outside of a hospital setting. For every minute that passes after a person has a cardiac arrest, the chance of survival decreases by 10% each minute.
Sudden cardiac arrest does not discriminate and can strike anyone, at anytime, any age and any fitness level.
In cardiac arrest the heart is no longer pumping, blood flow stops, the person loses consciousness and will be not breathing normally. Death is imminent unless within a short period of time blood flow is restored.
For a short period of time the non-pumping heart may have an abnormal rhythm (VF) or (VT) which may be shocked by defibrillation back to a normal pumping rhythm. CPR alone will not save a person in VF/VT, so a defibrillator should be applied to all patients as soon as available so that a shock can be delivered if required.
The time to defibrillation is a key factor that influencers survival. For every minute defibrillation is delayed, there is approximately 10% reduction in survival if the patient is in cardiac arrest due to VF or VT.