Sudden Cardiac Arrest – No. 1 Cause Of Death 1

Every year in the United Kingdom, approximately 90,000 people die from sudden cardiac arrest, in most cases without any prior warning signs. 2,3

Sudden cardiac arrest is the most common cause of out-of-hospital death in the western world. Sudden cardiac arrest is caused by an acute and unexpected malfunction of the heart. In most cases, an erratic heart rhythm called ‘ventricular fibrillation’ is diagnosed. The heart stops pumping blood, the person loses consciousness and stops breathing. If the patient is not immediately treated with early defibrillation, their chance of survival is very low. The emergency services usually arrive too late to administer life-saving techniques, so early defibrillation by people already at the scene can be life-saving.

With an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), everyone can help save lives.

When ventricular fibrillation occurs, immediate defibrillation is the definitive treatment. For every single minute without defibrillation, the chances of survival drop by 7% - 10%. 4,5 After 10 minutes without defibrillation there is almost no realistic chance of survival.

Response Time is a Crucial Factor in Survival

It might take more than 10 minutes to:

  • Discover the incident
  • Call the emergency services
  • Arrival of the emergency services
  • Analyse and treat patient

After 10 minutes the chance of survival is less than 5%. Having an AED avaliable is better than only watching for the emergency services.

  1. Best Practice British Medical Journal, Epidemiology of cardiac arrest
  2. NHS - National Health Service
  3. Heart Rhythm Charity UK
  4. Perkins GD, Cooke MW. Variability in cardiac arrest survival: the NHS Ambulance Service Quality Indicators, Emerg Med J 2012;29:3-5 doi:10.1136/emermed-2011-200758
  5. Nolan JP, Soar J, Zideman DA, Biarent D, Bossaert LL, Deakin C, Koster RW, Wyllie J, Boettiger B. European Resuscitation Council Guidelines for Resuscitation 2010 Section 1. Executive summary. Resuscitation 2010;81:1219- 76.