Would you know what to do if you saw someone suffering a cardiac arrest?

#RestartAHeartDay is an annual initiative led by the Resuscitation Council (UK) and takes place this Sunday (16th October), which aims to increase the number of people surviving out-of-hospital cardiac arrests.

Approximately 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen every year in the UK. Sadly, less than 1 in 10 people survive these cardiac arrests and performing CPR can more than double the chances of survival in some cases.

Last year (1st April 2021 – 31st March 2022), Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance were tasked to 2,231 incidents. Of these, 323 incidents were to patients who had suffered a cardiac arrest, which equates to 22% of our missions for the year.

We want to increase public awareness of cardiac arrests and the number of people trained in life-saving CPR. When someone collapses and stops breathing, it’s important to call 999, perform CPR and use a defibrillator if there is one available nearby.

The importance of early chest compressions and defibrillation

Paul Fox’s story is a true example of a patient having an intact ‘Chain of Survival' (see diagram below). He received immediate chest compressions, early defibrillation, post resuscitation stabilisation and was transferred directly to Royal Bournemouth Hospital to receive further coronary intervention and stenting, before undergoing a period of recovery.

Without any of these links in Paul’s emergency treatment, he would not have survived.

Chain of Survival. Early recognition and call for help - to prevent cardiac arrest. Early CPR - to buy time. Early Defibrillation - to restart the heart. Post resuscitation care - to restore quality of life.

How can you get involved?

The South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) will be running free CPR training events across the South West for Restart a Heart Day on Sunday 16th October.

  • Princesshay Shopping Centre, Exeter
  • Frankfort Gate, Plymouth
  • Dolphin Shopping Centre, Poole
  • Gloucester Quays Shopping Centre, Gloucester
  • Green Lanes Shopping Centre, Barnstaple

Members of our critical care team will also be attending events at the following venues in Dorset:

  • Saturday 15th October  - Poole Parkrun, Poole (9am)
  • Sunday 16th October - Dolphin Shopping Centre, Poole (10am – 4pm)

We are encouraging members of the public to get involved by popping along to any of the venues listed, where you will be given free CPR training on the day.

In the management of cardiac arrest, early chest compressions and defibrillation are crucial to a patient’s outcome. When the stakes are this high, don't think twice, just try. #RestartAHeart