The results of Denmark’s initiative to increase bystander CPR training demonstrates that, with knowledge, people will act to save lives but that more must be done to increase survival rates
|PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — A study in the October 2013 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), which examined Denmark’s decade-long national initiative to improve bystander CPR training, highlights a dramatic increase in Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) survival rates. Victims who received bystander CPR from 2001-2010 rose from 22 percent to 45 percent while the percentage of SCA victims who arrived at a hospital alive increased from eight percent to 22 percent. These results validate the benefits of preparation for cardiac emergency, and CardioReady, a leader in helping organizations to prevent SCA fatalities, believes much more can be done to prepare for SCA through further education, training and proliferation of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs).
“The Denmark study is an incredible first step in raising SCA awareness and its results should be a catalyst for the United States to take action against this major public health concern, which claims more than 300,000 lives a year,” said Dr. Kevin Campbell, Chief Medical Officer of CardioReady. “In addition to CPR training, I strongly believe that AED access and awareness among the general public is imperative, as AEDs are proven to save lives. Currently, over 92 percent of SCA victims die because prompt CPR and AED treatment are not provided to them. Empirical data shows that CPR and rapid defibrillation have a remarkable impact on SCA survival, and we need to build upon the results of what Denmark has accomplished to make similar progress elsewhere.”
The core components of Denmark’s national initiative included mandatory resuscitation training in elementary schools, CPR training when applying for a driver’s license, distribution of 150,000 CPR self-instruction training kits and updated clinical guidelines. While out-of-hospital SCA emergencies that involved layperson CPR have more than doubled over the last ten years in Denmark, the study concluded that more than 55 percent of people were still not receiving CPR and that bystander access of AEDs remains low. Research elsewhere has shown that the use of CPR and an AED in tandem can improve survival rates nearly nine fold.
“Denmark is ahead of the curve in implementing such a comprehensive national initiative and we applaud the proactive steps they have taken to address this remarkably underappreciated health issue,” said John Ehinger, CEO of CardioReady. “The administration of quality CPR allied with AED usage is the cornerstone of effective SCA response. The Denmark study shows us that action makes a meaningful difference, and it is important for us to continue to build upon this model – not just with increased AED proliferation, but also ensuring widespread training among people of all ages, including adults. SCA deaths are age correlated and if we limit training to younger generations, those who are more likely to fall victim are less likely to be protected in places that they spend much of their time, such as the workplace. Broadening the training approach will ensure that more people are prepared to react.”
This study should spark conversation about the need for greater national preparedness, especially as October is Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month. Currently, only 15 percent of the U.S. population outside of the medical community is properly trained in CPR. A national movement to train more people in our communities in CPR, along with the continued proliferation of AEDs, would have a significant impact in the ability to save the lives of those fallen victim to SCA.