Our Doctor Writes September 2018
Could you save a life?
Tuesday the 16th of October is World Restart a Heart Day. This is a yearly day of action with the aim to teach vital life-saving cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) skills to as many people as possible.
The Resuscitation Council UK along with The British Heart Foundation, The Red Cross, St John Ambulance and all UK ambulance services are involved with this initiative and hope to train 200,000 people. Schools, community groups and workplaces can run their own sessions with the help of the Call.Push.Rescue training kit available from The British Heart Foundation. Secondary schools are entitled to a free kit, but community groups and workplaces have to buy a kit (cost £469 inc VAT). The kit contains an instruction DVD and 10 miniAnne reusable manikins so that you can practice chest compressions and get a real feel for where to put your hands, how hard to push on the breast bone (sternum) and how to give rescue breaths.
Training takes 30 minutes to and hour and by the end of the session you should be able to check if someone who is not responding to you is breathing, how to call for help, how to do chest compressions and give mouth to mouth breaths effectively, how to find and use a community defibrillator, how long to do resuscitation for and what to do when someone starts to recover.
At present if you suffer an out of hospital cardiac arrest in the UK you have less than a 1 in 10 chance of surviving. The aim of the Restart a Heart Day is to increase this survival rate by enabling a bystander to perform basic CPR. If you are a bystander and do nothing, then that person having a cardiac arrest, which may be a loved one, will likely die. If you do something, then you may save that life. Even if you cannot remember exactly what to do, you will not do any harm if you push down on the lower end of the breast bone to a depth of 5cm at a rate of 2 pushes a second.
A study published in the Lancet in 2010 based on research from trials and observational studies from 1985 to 2010 involving adults suffering an out of hospital cardiac arrest due to a heart condition concluded that survival rates are 50% higher when bystander CPR (with assistance from ambulance control) is used compared with cases where no CPR is given. In addition, survival rates are higher when chest compression only CPR is given compared to standard CPR which involves giving rescue breaths. When I trained as a doctor the ratio of compressions to rescue breaths was 5 to 2. It is now 30 to 2 as the evidence is that successful CPR requires uninterrupted, high quality chest compressions. There are times when a cardiac arrest is not due to a heart condition, for example, trauma, choking, drowning. This mostly affects babies and children and the research in these cases concludes that giving 2 rescue breaths before standard CPR is more effective.
Community defibrillators are popping up everywhere and do save lives. Don't be afraid to use one. All you have to do is stick on the pads as shown on the diagram and push start. The defibrillator will then tell you exactly what to do. Remember there is always help from ambulance control.
If you cannot attend a practical session then maybe spend a few minutes on the 16th of October looking at the information about how to do CPR on the British Heart Foundation website.
The Old School Surgery (Great Bedwyn) now have Call.Push.Rescue kit and will be running a drop in session from 1 to 4pm on Thursday 18th of October. This is open to everyone, even if you are not registered at the practice. The kit is available to be borrowed by groups and workplaces.
Makes a difference and save a life.
Be well, best wishes,
Dr Angela Paddon