European cardiac arrest awareness day

With the slogan “All citizens worldwide can save lives”, the Spanish Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Council (CERCP) and Fundación MAPFRE have launched an awareness campaign with the goal of teaching more citizens about how to act in life-threatening situations.

There is still not enough information and training of Spanish society on what to do when faced with a cardiac arrest and this is something which would undoubtedly contribute to improving survival rates. It is crucial to act immediately following a cardiac arrest. For every minute that the person is not being attended to, the likelihood of the person’s life being saved goes down by 10%.

These are some of the messages that experts from the Spanish Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Council (CERCP) and Fundación MAPFRE have conveyed, in a ceremony held in Madrid on the occasion of the European Cardiac Arrest Awareness Day, which this year boasts the slogan “All citizens worldwide can save lives”.

We were reminded that one in four deaths due to cardiac arrest are preventable. Currently, only 20% of people suffering from cardiac arrest receive the proper immediate care such as early resuscitation techniques, a figure which is over 50% in other European Union countries.

In this sense, doctor Frutos del Nogal, member of the Spanish Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Council, who took part in the ceremony, stressed that, “citizens should act quickly when someone falls to the floor, is unconscious and is not breathing normally. Under such circumstances you must call the emergency services (112) and perform basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)”.

Doctor Ervigio Corral, coordinator of CERCP’s Scientific Committee, emphasized that using an automated external defibrillator (AED) raises the chance of survival by 90% if used in the first two minutes after the heart stops. He explained that it consists of “equipment designed to be used by anyone even if they do not have healthcare training” and is particularly useful in crowded places such as football stadiums, airports, gyms and hotels.

Around 30,000 cardiac arrests

In Spain, between 30,000 cardiac arrests occur a year in Spain out of hospital. The survival rate in this situation, which happens very suddenly, isvery low, at around 10%. This percentage could increase between 2 and 4 times if more people were more knowledgeable and well-trained in CPR, life support and first aid. “Although the latest figures do not help much”. These were the words of Antonio Guzmán, Health Promotion Director at Fundación MAPFRE, who has revealed some of the conclusions from the latest report on CPR by this entity in conjunction with the Spanish Society of Emergency Medicine (SEMES). According to their research, only 4 in 10 adults admit to feeling capable of responding in this kind of emergency, which is a similar percentage to the number of people (41.3%) who state that they would know how to use an AED if necessary. It is also notable that only 54.1% of those surveyed knew that the single European emergency number is 112.
Above all you have to act

Raising awareness in society of the importance of reacting quickly in an accident of this kind, either through administering CPR or using an AED, is the main message which Fundación MAPFRE will be spreading together with the Spanish Cardiopulmonary Council (CERCP) who have produced an awareness-raising video and pamphlet with the slogan Take action! with the goal of teaching citizens about what to do when faced with a life-threatening situation.

Within the framework of the European Cardiac Arrest Awareness Day, Fundación MAPFRE and the CERCP also organized an activity in which Emergency services professionals taught a group of 15 young people from the Fundación Talisman how to perform CRP and handle semi-automatic defibrillators, as well as about basic first aid.
Through the work of all its entities, CERCP organizes numerous activities throughout the country to help teach people how to carry out basic CPR. These activities are held in hospitals, health centers, schools, civic centers and sports centers.

In addition, during the week several events aimed at physicians and the general population will be held, among which we would highlight the 2nd Spanish CPR Council Congress, which will be held on 19 and 20 October in Málaga.

Fundación MAPFRE will also be holding more than 200 CPR workshops in 60 educational establishments and sports schools during this academic year. Thanks to this activity, around 10,000 young people from 12 to 16 years old will learn how to recognize the symptoms of a cardiac arrest, how to let the emergency services know, how to begin resuscitation techniques if the person is unconscious and not breathing, how to use an AED and how to act if someone is choking.