A new report from the organization Heart + Stroke is sounding the alarm: the number of cardiac arrests occurring in Canada is much higher than previously estimated and nearly half of them are They kill people under the age of 65.
The report reveals that approximately 60,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of hospital each year in Canada, or one every nine minutes, and only one in 10 people survive.
Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating normally and no longer pumps blood to the rest of the body. It is a sudden and often unexpected medical emergency that can strike anyone, anywhere.
Heart & Stroke reports that rapid intervention saves lives, including immediate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), which keeps blood flowing to preserve the function of the brain and other vital organs. On the other hand, an automated external defibrillator (AED) delivers a shock to the heart to help it start beating again.
The report finds that measurable improvements have been made in recent decades, including improved CPR performed by first responders and the public, as well as more AEDs being accessible in some public places.
The fact remains that the rate of use of an AED by a witness is only 13% in public places, according to Heart + Stroke, which found that their accessibility varies; defibrillators are sometimes out of reach, poorly maintained, or not registered in the emergency medical services database.
In addition, few AEDs are found in private places, where most cardiac arrests occur.
Heart & Stroke makes some recommendations for better treatment of cardiac arrests, including imparting skills to young people by ensuring more people can recognize cardiac arrest, perform CPR and intervene.
The installation of more easily accessible defibrillators in public and private places is also suggested.