Each year in October sees the collaborative effort of hundreds of clinicians and volunteers working together to train thousands of adults and children in how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) as part of the Restart a Heart campaign.
The campaign is led in the UK by Resuscitation Council UK alongside our partners the British Heart Foundation, British Red Cross, St John Ambulance and every UK NHS Ambulance service joins in to ensure as many people as possible are trained in this life-saving skill.
Everybody who takes part realise that if more people learn CPR, more lives could be saved. The campaign brings communities together, raising awareness of cardiac arrest and increasing the number of people trained in the UK.
In 2019, over 291,000 people in the UK learnt CPR as part of Restart a Heart campaign. However 2020 has presented some extraordinary circumstances but this doesn’t mean we cannot try and engage with even more people to spread the message that CPR can save lives.
Cardiac arrest can occur at any time and in any place. If you see someone collapse and is not breathing, you need to act fast so they can have the best chance of survival. The most important actions you can take to attempt to save a life are early recognition of cardiac arrest, calling for an Ambulance, starting CPR and using an automated external defibrillator (AED). In adults, defibrillation within 3-5 minutes of collapse may produce survival rates as high as 50-70%.
In the UK, fewer than 1 in 10 people survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. The average overall survival to hospital discharge from over 30,000 NHS resuscitation attempts in an Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest (OHCA) in England is 8.6% (1)
Chain of Survival
The Chain of Survival shows the steps that need to be taken in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest. The first three steps – Early recognition / call for help, Early CPR and Early defibrillation – all depend on a speedy response by members of the public.
When someone has a cardiac arrest, they collapse and become unresponsive. They either stop breathing entirely, or they might take gasping or infrequent breaths.
If you see someone unconscious or breathing abnormally, ring 999 immediately. You will speak to an Ambulance call handler, who will help you confirm if the person is in cardiac arrest and guide you through doing CPR.
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) describes the process of compressing the chest to squeeze the heart and pump blood around the body.
First you must place one hand on top of the other on the center of the chest and push hard and fast on the chest to help pump blood around the person’s body. You should keep a steady rhythm of about 120 compressions every minute.
When it comes to CPR, the important thing is to give it a go, remember anything you do could contribute to the patients survival, even if you haven’t done it before, doing something is better than nothing at all. By doing CPR in an emergency, you are giving someone a chance of survival that they wouldn’t have had without you.