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Restart a Heart Day – 16 October 2021

Posted: 15/10/2021

Many of us will remember the distressing scenes during Denmark’s opening Euro 2020 match in June, when player Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest. Thankfully Christian survived, thanks to the quick action of players and medics who provided CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and used a defibrillator to shock his heart back into action. Christian has made a good recovery, and the publicity these events attracted showed millions the positive impact CPR and use of a defibrillator can have in this situation.

An estimated 30,000 people suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrest each year in the UK, but less than 1 in 10 survive. There are two particular factors related to the low chance of survival:

  1. There are not enough people prepared to perform CPR when someone has a cardiac arrest; and
  2. There is not a defibrillator nearby.

Survival can be increased significantly (as high as 40%) by the early use of CPR and automated defibrillators. 

16 October will be Restart a Heart Day, organised by the Resuscitation Council UK in association with the British Heart Foundation, British Red Cross, St John Ambulance, NHS Ambulance Service and Saving Lives for Scotland, all working together to help raise awareness of cardiac arrest and to teach CPR.

In the UK a proposed bill requiring the installation of automated defibrillators in public buildings, sporting facilities, and educational institutions such as schools and universities was debated in Parliament in September. This is in part thanks to a campaign by The Oliver King Foundation, a charity founded by the father of 12-year-old Oliver who sadly died during a PE lesson, after suffering a sudden cardiac arrest from a previously undetected heart condition. There was no lifesaving defibrillator on hand to help Oliver. The foundation has placed over 4,500 defibrillators across the UK and trained 70,000 staff in CPR and defibrillation. At the last count, the work of the foundation has saved over 47 lives.

Elizabeth Maloney, associate in the Penningtons Manches Cooper clinical negligence team comments: “Restart a Heart Day is a great way to raise awareness of how training in CPR, and increased availability of defibrillators, can make a dramatic difference to the chances of survival for someone suffering a sudden cardiac arrest. The websites of all the organisations above show how you can gain access to resources for training or help raise funds for a defibrillator.”

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