NEAS Community Development Officer, Andrew Peacock from TyneMet College, NEAS Patient Transport member of staff and Restart a Heart volunteer Kerry Weatherburn, Depty Chief Executive of Tyne Coast College Alison Maynard and TyneMet student Dylan Taylor

Student’s cardiac arrest survival inspires the region to take up CPR training

Due to the sudden onset of a cardiac arrest, one college is training over 100 of their students in life saving cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) with the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS).

Tyne Metropolitan College was inspired by Restart a Heart Day after one of their students survived a cardiac arrest last year whilst playing football, due to the people around him knowing what to do.

As well as training the college students, 56 organisations in total will be trained as part of the NEAS campaign which will deliver lifesaving skills to over 6,000 people in the region.

Dylan Taylor, 18, would like to share his story to emphasise the importance of why people should receive CPR training, to save more lives.

Dylan was playing football at Sunderland College at the time, representing Tyne Metropolitan College, when he suddenly collapsed and became unresponsive.

Within seconds, his coach and team mates rushed to his side to check his airway and begin CPR. An ambulance was called and whilst they were on route, a student got a defibrillator which the college had not long installed.

Dylan said, “I’m so lucky to be alive. Due to the fact that there was a defibrillator used and people around me were quick to perform CPR; this made all the difference in me surviving.

“It’s been a long road to recovery but I’m now back to playing football. I also took up coaching and completed a first aid course.

“I want to tell my story to encourage other people to take up CPR training as, like me, you never know when you could have a cardiac arrest. CPR training is vital as you could be the difference in saving someone’s life.”

Cardiac arrest survival begins with the first person that recognises someone is unresponsive and takes urgent emergency action of first calling 999 for an ambulance and then beginning CPR.

Approximately 60,000 people suffer a cardiac arrest out of hospital in England every year and of these, 28,000 patients will have resuscitation started or continued by the ambulance service. Survival rates for cardiac arrest patients is 8.6%. This is significantly lower than for populations in other developed countries like Holland (21%), Seattle (20%) and Norway (25%).

The current rate of initial bystander CPR in England is reported as being 43% compared to up to 73% in other countries. A cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival falls by around 7 to 10 percent with every minute that defibrillation is delayed.

Deputy Medical Director, Professor Michael Norton is a specialist in cardiology in the North East and treats many patients who have suffered a cardiac arrest. He said, “One of the great things about cardiac arrest treatment from my point of view is that although this is the most serious medical emergency we have, when someone starts CPR, preferably with a defibrillator, then what we see is somebody being saved, but also someone going back to functioning normally.

“We are starting to see more and more patients returning to normal after suffering a cardiac arrest and this is due to early bystander CPR and the use of a defibrillator. The quality of life of the people that are saved is much better as a result of early recognition of a cardiac arrest and this is what we need to be seeing more of.

“Restart a Heart Day is a way of making our community safer. We want to see the North East become a community of life savers. Cardiac arrest is not about the emergency services coming to help you, it’s about each of us learning CPR and how to use a defibrillator so if that day comes, we can make the difference in someone surviving or not.”

Restart a Heart Day is an annual campaign to raise awareness of the importance of CPR.

The UK campaign, which is now in its 6th year, was launched after figures revealed that less than one in 10 people in Britain survive an out of hospital cardiac arrest, due to low bystander CPR rates. In countries where CPR is taught in schools, as many as one in four survive.

Alex Mason, community development officer at NEAS, said: “There is nothing more disheartening to an ambulance crew than arriving on scene to a patient in cardiac arrest and no one is doing CPR.

“Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone of any age at any time, even fit young people like Dylan. His story shows how important bystander CPR and early defibrillation is.

“CPR is incredibly easy to deliver but we understand people don’t always find it easy to start CPR, either because they’re not sure how or think they may hurt the person. However, the chances of survival and the quality of life thereafter are vastly increased if CPR is started as soon as possible, as every second counts. If you do need to deliver CPR, you will be given support by our health advisors over the phone until an ambulance crew arrives.

“Our community resuscitation team work up and down our region to support our local communities and equip them with the knowledge and skills they need to help save lives in their local area. Restart a Heart Day is an extension of this and we’re looking forward to visiting schools across the North East today to create our next generation of lifesavers.”

Restart a Heart Day forms part of the community push for resuscitation that the Trust has been doing this year. A defibrillator campaign was launched to target 60 areas throughout the region that are in desperate need of a lifesaving public accessible defibrillator. The NEAS Trust Fund is also part funding £500 towards successful applications.

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Copyright 2011 North East Ambulance Service Trust

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