European ‘Restart a Heart’ Day... Your hands can save a loved one’s life!

October 16th 2014

Learning CPR is easy and anyone can do it! 

Without cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) instruction or training most people would feel helpless in responding to a sudden cardiac collapse. Simply put, with statistics strongly indicating that over 80% of cardiac arrests occur at home, the life you may save by learning CPR is most likely to be someone you love.

‘Your hands can save a loved one’s life!’ is this year’s theme for Restart a Heart day which is being marked on the 16th. October of each year by the European Resuscitation Council. Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) can occur at any age, often claiming victims during their most productive years, and thus devastating unprepared families. In view of this the European Parliament recognized the importance of raising public cardiac arrest awareness and the importance of learning CPR by implementing a declaration in 2012, signed by the majority of MEPs, to assist in improving the survival figures of out of hospital cardiac arrest victims.

Over the past 12 months, the Malta Resuscitation Council supported and played an active role in ensuring that two of the links in the all-important chain of cardiac arrest survival in Malta were strengthened. This was done by:

1. Promoting the teaching of basic life support to our children at school by encouraging the Department of Education to introduce BLS teaching within the National School Curriculum. This would ensure that every child leaves school with an added life skill which will definitely strengthen the health of our Community.

2. Promoting the introduction of further Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) to be placed within various strategic public locations especially where large number of people normally gather thereby making the risk of sudden cardiac arrest occurrence greater. Earlier this year, the Malta Resuscitation Council supported the noble endeavour by the organizers of the ‘Maratona bir-Roti’ project at San Gorg Preca School in Hamrun to introduce these lifesaving machines in as many local schools as possible. Time will attest the importance of this civic venture.

The home environment is the scene for about 4 out of 5 of all sudden cardiac arrests and almost 60 percent of these are witnessed by the victims’ family members. In addition it is estimated that about 95 percent of sudden cardiac arrest victims die before reaching the hospital. Survival is directly linked to the time delay between the onset of cardiac arrest and initiation of CPR and defibrillation. 

If no bystander CPR is provided, a victim’s chances of survival are reduced by 7 to 10 percent with every minute of delay until defibrillation.
Thus through this year’s Restart a Heart campaign ‘Your hands can save a loved one’s life,’ the Malta Resuscitation Council is encouraging cardiac arrest awareness amongst the family members of patients with a higher risk of sudden cardiac arrest by advising CPR training, Statistically speaking, if called on to administer CPR in an emergency, the life you may save through training is likely to be someone at home: a child, a parent or a friend.

With a cardiac arrest occurring roughly every 45 seconds within Europe, further CPR training by members within the family unit will ensure that many a loved one’s life will certainly be saved!