The Shocking Statistics relating to sudden cardiac arrests (SCA) in the UK

The Shocking Statistics relating to sudden cardiac arrests (SCA) in the UK

A sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) can happen to anyone at anytime and they often get confused with a victim having a heart attack. Contrary to popular belief, heart attacks and cardiac arrests are very different with heart attacks being caused due to a circulation problem, and cardiac arrests being caused due to an electrical problem in the heart. Shockingly, only 8% of victims survive a cardiac arrest compared to 70 to 80% of heart attack sufferers.

An SCA occurs when there is underlying problems with the heart’s electrical activity. This makes them extremely difficult to predict as there is often no warning or history of any heart concerns. Once an individual goes into a SCA they will lose consciousness straight away and unless immediate CPR and a defibrillator is used, will be dead within a matter of minutes.

According to the British Heart Foundation and Department of Health, a sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in the United Kingdom accounting for roughly 100,000 deaths per year. With shocking statistics like this, knowing how to act and knowing the difference between a sudden cardiac arrest and a heart attack can really make the difference between life and death.

Not surprisingly, acting fast makes a huge difference, with the patients survival rate dropping by 10% every minute that is wasted, having a defibrillator nearby makes all the difference. With only 22% of people in the UK being confident in delivering CPR, more needs to be done to raise awareness of how to treat someone suffering from a SCA. With 80% of sudden cardiac arrests occurring at home and 20% in public spaces, the more people trained in how to administer CPR and use a defibrillator will greatly increase the survival rate of someone suffering from a cardiac arrest.

Unlike many conditions, the worrying concerns regarding SCA’s are that there is usually no prior warning and that gender, age or ethnicity is not a factor. Although factors such as having high blood pressure, smoking, obesity and high cholesterol can have an impact, the overwhelming concern is that a SCA impacts a patient from out of the blue and can end a life in minutes.

Defibrillators work to help save the life of someone suffering from a cardiac arrest by delivering a high energy shock through the chest wall and is essential in the event of a SCA. In the time that is has taken to read this blog one person has died due to a sudden cardiac arrest. Having a defibrillator close by could make all the difference.

20th Jan 2019 Christopher Maltby CW

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