How many lives are saved by defibrillators in the UK?

How many lives are saved by defibrillators in the UK?

Defibrillators work by delivering a high energy electric shock to the heart through the chest wall and is an essential life saving step for someone suffering a cardiac arrest. There are now many available across the UK in public areas such as parks, work places, high streets and sporting events in order to deliver help when needed most. A defibrillator is its most effective when administered within the first minute of a victim collapsing with the likelihood of survival rate increases to 90% therefore, having a defibrillator close by really makes all the difference.

With cardiac arrests being deemed a ‘health care crisis’ and with over 300,000 people suffering from them yearly, having a defibrillator is said to save 40,000 lives a year. With around 400 workplace deaths occurring yearly due to cardiac arrests, this can be significantly reduced just by having a defibrillator nearby. The average time for a paramedic to arrive once the emergency services has been called is 12 minutes and with every minute of this time that is wasted, the patients survival rate reduces by 10%, defibrillators are literally life saving.

According to the British Heart Foundation, less than 1 in 10 people survive a sudden cardiac arrest and shockingly, 3% of defibrillators are used outside of hospitals. With the announcement of a national defibrillator database by the NHS being well received, the more people that know about defibrillators, how to use them and where they are will undoubtedly increase the number of lives saved.

Thankfully, defibrillators allow everyday members of the public to become life savers when it is most unexpected and although the chances of having to ever administer CPR or use a defibrillator are very minor, having those resources and skills in place is truly invaluable. With the national database of defibrillators being launched in Spring 2019, the more people who know about them, the better.

With such advanced technology defibrillators work cleverly to ‘shock’ a persons heart into restarting after suffering a cardiac arrest and can be done within a few minutes of use meaning often a victim can make a full recovery. At the moment there are defibrillator maps in order to find the nearest one to your work place or local town and hopefully many more appearing in public places before we know it.

1st Jan 2019 Christopher Maltby CW

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