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Cardiac arrest survival rates dire and not improving

Cardiac arrest survival rates across Britain are “dire” and show no sign of improving, campaigners warned.Cardiac arrest survival rates dire and not improvingOfficial figures show that fewer than one in five people who suffer a cardiac arrest receive adequate care from bystanders.

The NHS statistics also found that in some areas, just one in 14 people, who collapse with a cardiac arrest, survive such an incident.

Campaigners described the figures as “dire” and urged people to undertake vital CPR training.

Since April last year, when the Department of Health began collecting data on cardiac arrests, survival rates have shown no improvement.

Patient records kept by the country’s 12 regional ambulance services, show that fewer than 20 per cent of those who suffered a cardiac arrest – and were sent to hospital by paramedics – survived.

Survival rates peaked at 28 per cent in May last year but have since deteriorated and have failed to rise above 20 per cent, according to The British Heart Foundation (BHF) , which compiled the figures.

In the East Midlands, ambulance crews saved just three in 40 people – a 7.5 per cent survival rate. Survival chances are highest in Wiltshire and Gloucestershire, where one in three such patients survived and were later discharged from hospital.

In June only 58 of the 314 casualties attended by paramedics lived across England – just 18.5 per cent.

Separate figures show that medical professionals attend about 30,000 “out-of-hospital” cardiac arrests in Britain every year.

Prof Peter Weissberg, the BHF’s medical director, warned there had been “no sustained improvement in survival rates from witnessed out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, where CPR and a defibrillator could have helped”.

“Many people can survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest but only if they receive immediate CPR,” he said.

“Sadly, in the vast majority of cases in the UK this doesn’t happen.  We know Hands-only CPR works but more bystanders need to step in if we’re ever to see the majority become the minority.”

Last year the organisation launched its educational advertisement starring Vinnie Jones, the British actor. The organisation knows of 28 people who have survived a cardiac arrest because somebody they know had seen the campaign’s advertisement.

The video, which has been viewed online more than 2,4 million times, shows how hard and fast chest compressions need to be to the tune of the Bee Gees’ disco classic Stayin’ Alive. The charity is launching a new phase of the campaign.

Earlier this year Fabrice Muamba, a player renowned throughout the game for his fitness, suffered a massive cardiac arrest as Bolton played Tottenham in an FA Cup quarter final, in front of 35,000 spectators and millions watching on television.

A cardiac arrest is different from a heart attack. The heart suffers an electrical malfunction, which causes it to beat irregularly.  Casualties become unconscious and lose a pulse within seconds and can die within minutes unless they receive treatment.

A heart attack is triggered by a loss of blood flow through a blocked artery.

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