European Restart a Heart Day
- 8am - 9pm EDT Sunday, October 16 2016
- Submitted by:
- Radhika on Oct 09, 2014
Let's save more than 100,000 lives!
Last year we celebrated the very first ‘European Restart a Heart Day'-to teach members of the public how to help restart the heart of someone who has suffered a cardiac arrest. This initiative, that will take place every year on October 16, aims to improve the very low numbers of people surviving out-of-hospital cardiac arrests. This year we are looking forward to celebrating it again BIGGER than last year! A poster campaign and flyers will be distributed in different languages, and events will be held across multiple European countries with the support of their National Resuscitation organisation.
Every year, around 350,000 Europeans suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). OHCA occur anywhere, for example in the street, at work, or while exercising or doing other strenuous activity. Unfortunately, the vast majority happen at home, where family members are the only witnesses and the only ones with the chance to save their loved ones. It adds to the tragedy of the situation that we would loose a loved one just because we did not know what to do in case of sudden cardiac arrest. Bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) by lay people increases survival by 2-3 times, however, today it is delivered in only 1 in 5 out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. That is why less than 1 in 10 of these patients survive today. Increasing this rate may save 100,000 lives in Europe per year. "Unfortunately, only a small minority of cardiac arrest victims receive this vital help in time to save their life," says Professor Maaret Castrén, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, and chair of the ERC.
More people learning how to restart a heart could save 100,000 lives per year across Europe, says the European Resuscitation Council
Bystander CPR rates vary widely across Europe, with Andalusia in Spain as low as 12%, Germany 15%, through to very high rates in the Netherlands (61%) and Sweden (59%). The actual survival rate varies with the setting, with some countries having survival as low as 6%, whereas countries with an excellent record in bystander CPR such as the Netherlands and Norway see survival rates as high as 40%. "If we could improve rates of bystander CPR in Europe to the levels seen in these best-performing nations, then around 100,000 lives could be saved each year across Europe," says Prof Castrén. "We are certain that if more people were trained (e.g. all relatives of high-risk population with cardiovascular diseases or families of people who already survived cardiac arrest or heart attack), 50% of the deaths by cardiac arrest could effectively be prevented," she adds.
To put these numbers in context, the estimate of 350,000 OHCA deaths is equivalent to 1,000 deaths per day every day of the year across Europe: 2 full jumbo jets crashing with no survivors each and every day. By comparison, 28,000 people die across Europe each year in road accidents, but despite this the figure invested in road and car safety each year is much higher than that invested in CPR.
The ERC's Restart a Heart campaign comes following a European Parliament declaration in June 2012 calling on Member States to establish a European Cardiac Arrest Awareness Week aimed at improving awareness and education of the public, doctors and other health care workers.
By performing CPR you can do nothing wrong, the only thing that can be wrong is doing nothing.
In addition to families of people at potential high risk of cardiac arrest, the European Restart a Heart Day will also educate health care personnel, children at schools, opinion leaders and politicians about how to give this vital assistance. The ERC will mobilize the support of all National Resuscitation Councils in Europe to help promote the campaign, which will include posters, flyers, tips on CPR and event ideas for hospitals, shopping malls, schools and other institutions.
This website is packed with useful information and explaining how to deliver CPR correctly, translated posters and flyers, a Twitter hashtag and a special place on our Facebook page to share experiences and stories.
"CPR is easier than most people think and saves lives," adds Professor Castrén. "People are understandably nervous about doing CPR but our campaign will show that it is a straightforward procedure that can be performed by most people. Members of the general public really have the power and ability to save lives in these circumstances. Even a modest increase in the proportion of the public doing CPR in this scenario could save many lives."