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 and if a defibrillator is used within the first 3 to 5 minutes, the likelihood of survival increases from 6% to 74% therefore, having a defibrillator close by really makes all the difference.

With cardiac arrests being deemed a ‘health care crisis’ and astonishingly with over 7.4 million people living with heart and circulatory diseases in 2019 alone, having a defibrillator saved thousands of lives last 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 8 minutes and with every minute of this time that is wasted, the patients survival rate reduces by 10% showing how life saving defibrillators really are.

According to the British Heart Foundation, less than 1 in 10 people survive a sudden cardiac arrest. Shockingly, 3% of defibrillators are used outside of hospitals with only 40% of bystanders who witness a cardiac arrest performing CPR. 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. Not only this but last year, a huge 170,000 people died due to heart and circulatory problems, equating to an average of 460 people a day however, thankfully since the British Heart Foundation has been established, this number is roughly half of what it was originally.

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 over 10,000 defibrillators in the UK with maps helping to identify the nearest one to your work place or local town with hopefully many more appearing in public places before long.

19th Jan 2020 Christopher Maltby CW

Recent Posts