"It got me further instilled in the firm belief that everyone should get CPR &…
What is it?
Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest or OHCA, describes the loss of cardiac function outside of a hospital setting.
Cardiac arrest is the result of the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stopping. It is unpredictable and a time-sensitive medical emergency. According to SingHealth, almost 3,000 people have a sudden cardiac arrest every year in Singapore. Cardiac arrests kill more people yearly than cancer, stroke or trauma.
Cardiac Arrests in Singapore
In a study published by the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA), there’s 11061 emergency medical services-treated OHCAs in Singapore. Of which, 4% survived — that’s 440 cardiac arrest victims. According to JAHA, the number of OHCA cases in Singapore has been on the rise since 2006.
Associate Professor Liu Nan at Duke-NUS Medical School says “laypersons may sometimes be reluctant to provide bystander Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) due to various reasons” including:
- Emotional stress
- Low confidence in their ability to recognise cardiac arrest or perform CPR
- Concerns about causing injury to the patient
- Fear of accusations of sexual misconduct if the victim is female.
Similarly, in 2020 the Singapore Heart Foundation surveyed 1003 Singaporeans. Aged between 16-64, they shared some reasons for not performing CPR on a collapsed stranger in public:
Importance of Bystander CPR
Victims of cardiac arrest can be saved with immediate CPR. However, without intervention, their chances of survival drop by 10% every minute.
What does this mean? It means that bystander CPR can significantly improve survival chances.
During medical emergencies like cardiac arrest, ambulances take awhile to arrive on scene. This is where bystander CPR comes in, as an important part of the Chain of Survival.
Why is cardiac arrest life-threatening?
At the start of a cardiac arrest, oxygen levels in the blood will start to decline, causing brain cells to die. After 10 minutes, irreversible brain damage will occur.
Unlike a heart attack, cardiac arrests do not have any signs or symptoms. It happens without warning.
However, survival is still possible with immediate intervention.
Chest compression and Defibrillation
The only way to treat a cardiac arrest is by performing CPR and delivering electrical shocks to the heart using the Automated External Defibrillator (AED).
If you or someone you know encounters a collapsed victim, here’s what you can do:
A little help goes a long way. Cardiac arrest victims can be saved with the help of bystanders. Join a resuscitation course today and arm yourself with the confidence and skills to save a life!