When sudden cardiac arrest strikes, it is often fatal. It usually strikes without warning and in the most unexpected situations.
Some victims of sudden cardiac arrest may even appear healthy with little or no cardiovascular risk factors. In 2016, the out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest survival rate in Singapore was 23.4% (shockable witnessed cardiac arrest patients). Meanwhile, cities such as Gothenburg (Sweden) and Seattle (USA) have recorded exceptional survival rates of more than 40%.
Moreover, training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is limited to mostly healthcare providers in Singapore. Not surprisingly, repeated calls have been made by Singaporean doctors to extend CPR training to the public to save more lives.
Statistics indicate that 70%-80% of cardiac arrest cases occur either in the home or at public places. In such cases, the person nearest at hand to the victim is often a bystander with no medical expertise such as a relative, an office colleague, or a passer-by. If those present at the scene are able to provide CPR to the victim promptly, the latter’s chances of survival are significantly increased.
This is because time is the essence when treating a cardiac arrest victim. Once the heart stops beating and blood flow stops, a person will lose consciousness within 15 seconds. Within another 30 to 60 seconds, he will stop breathing, and irreversible damage to his brain cells will follow after several minutes of oxygen deprivation.
The Singapore Heart Foundation’s Heart Safe mission is to improve the out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest survival rate in Singapore by creating an environment for more effective use of CPR and Automated External Defibrillators (AED) in the community through various initiatives.