Teaching emergency life support to the public
A hands on approach to cardiopulmonary resuscitation
- By: Richard Thorley, Amy Huxtable, Sabina Shaheen
An estimated 60 000 cardiac arrests occur outside the hospital setting in the United Kingdom each year.1 Survival rates vary between countries, but the consensus is that fewer than 10% of patients survive a cardiac arrest that occurs outside the hospital setting.2 Emergency life support from members of the public can keep a patient alive until professional help arrives.3 Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a key component of emergency life support, and, if it is delivered as soon as possible after the onset of an arrest, it can substantially increase the chance of survival.4 By delivering chest compressions and rescue breaths, rescuers performing CPR are able to maintain a limited flow of oxygenated blood around a casualty’s body in the absence of a beating heart. Without blood flow, only a few minutes need elapse before a patient experiences irreversible brain damage.
Three quarters of the British public have never received training in