CPR rates climb

A SENIOR ambulance figure has warned south-west residents not to be complacent when it comes to helping save lives.

Clinical Manager of Ambulance Victoria’s Barwon South West region Paul Jennings issued the warning despite a healthy report card on public participation in cases of cardiac arrest.

HANDS ON: Ambulance Victoria has praised the role played by the public in CPR and is encouraging that trend to continue. The efforts of the public is helping to save lives.

HANDS ON: Ambulance Victoria has praised the role played by the public in CPR and is encouraging that trend to continue. The efforts of the public is helping to save lives.

Ambulance Victoria data shows that more bystanders are stepping in to help save lives.

Over the past decade, the number of occurrences where bystanders applied CPR in case of a cardiac arrest doubled, from 36 per cent to 61. Patients who receive bystander CPR are 11 times more likely to be found in a shockable rhythm, the cardiac rhythm most favourable to survival.

Patients who received bystander CPR were twice as likely to be discharged alive from hospital as those who did not receive bystander CPR (12 per cent compared to six).

More patients first shocked by a bystander were discharged alive from hospital (55 per cent) than those who had to wait for first shock by ambulance paramedics (28).

Mr Jennings, who is also the chair of the Victorian branch of the Australian Resuscitation Council, is hopeful the pro-active bystander trend continues.

“The public is doing better but there is still a long way to go,” Mr Jennings said.

“We still need more people learning CPR and for those who know it, to get re-accreditation each two years.”

While Mr Jennings is encouraging CPR training, he also stressed that, untrained or not, doing something to help during a cardiac arrest is better than doing nothing.

“Any attempt is better than no attempt,” Mr Jennings said.

“If people are untrained, it is still recommended they attempt CPR if the person is having a cardiac arrest.

“The best thing is to ring 000 and they will talk you through what to do until the ambulance arrives.”

While the public continues to step up and help when needed, Ambulance Victoria has also reported better CPR response times from its members.

Median ambulance response times across Victoria for cardiac arrest patients (with resuscitation commenced) were lower in 2015-16 (7.8 minutes) than in the previous year (8.0 minutes).