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Restart a Heart Day

What is Restart a Heart Day?

Restart a Heart Day is a Europe-wide initiative created by the European Resuscitation Council aimed at raising cardiac arrest awareness. This was launched in 2013 to teach members of the public how to help restart the heart of someone who has suffered a cardiac arrest.

What date is it?

Tuesday 18th October 2016. This is the date across Europe that this mass training will occur

Why should we support Restart a Heart Day?

Every year, around 350,000 Europeans suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). OHCA can occur anywhere, for example in the street, at work, or while exercising or doing other strenuous activity. Unfortunately, the vast majority happen at home, where family members are the only witnesses and the only ones with the chance to save their loved ones. It adds to the tragedy of the situation that we would lose a loved one just because we did not know what to do in case of sudden cardiac arrest.

Bystander CPR by lay people increases survival by 2-3 times, however, today it is delivered in only 1 in 5 OCHA cases. That is why fewer than 1 in 10 of these patients survive today. Increasing this rate may save 100,000 lives in Europe per year.

“Unfortunately, only a small minority of cardiac arrest victims receive this vital help in time to save their life,” says Professor Maaret Castrén, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, and Chair of the European Resuscitation Council.

What are the aims of Restart a Heart Day?

Bystander CPR rates vary widely across Europe, with Andalusia in Spain as low as 12%, Germany 15%, through to very high rates in the Netherlands (61%) and Sweden (59%). The actual survival rate varies with the setting, with some countries having survival as low as 6%, whereas countries with an excellent record in bystander CPR such as the Netherlands and Norway seeing survival rates as high as 40%.

“If we could improve rates of bystander CPR in Europe to the levels seen in these best-performing nations, then around 100,000 lives could be saved each year across Europe,” says Prof Castrén. “We are certain that if more people were trained (eg all relatives of a high-risk population with cardiovascular diseases or families of people who already survived cardiac arrest or heart attack), 50% of the deaths by cardiac arrest could effectively be prevented,” she adds.

To put these numbers in context, the estimate of 350,000 OHCA deaths is equivalent to 1,000 deaths per day every day of the year across Europe: two full jumbo jets crashing with no survivors each and every day. By comparison, 28,000 people die across Europe each year in road accidents, but despite this the figure invested in road and car safety each year is much higher than that invested in CPR

To volunteer, email: restartaheart@neas.nhs.uk

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