Toronto, February 6, 2024 – As the CEO and founder of Heart to Heart First Aid CPR Services Inc. for 25 years, I’ve seen firsthand the critical impact of life-saving skills on individuals and communities. The Heart & Stroke 2024 Cardiac Arrest report underscores the urgency of our mission, revealing startling statistics and insights that demand our attention and action. Let’s delve into the report’s crucial insights together and make a difference.
Critical Insights from the Heart & Stroke 2024 Cardiac Arrest Report:
- Canada experiences approximately 60,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests annually, with a survival rate of only about 10%. This stark statistic underscores the need for effective emergency response and heightened public awareness to improve outcomes.
- Contrary to common perceptions, nearly half of these cases occur in individuals under 65. This finding stresses the importance of immediate action, emphasizing that CPR and the use of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are crucial in increasing survival chances. The report underscores a vital fact: with each passing minute without CPR or AED intervention, the chance of survival decreases significantly. After 5 minutes without oxygen, brain damage begins, escalating the situation’s urgency. This emphasizes the critical need for widespread CPR training and immediate access to AEDs, ensuring that bystanders can act swiftly to provide life-saving measures.
- The report highlights significant variability in bystander CPR rates across Canada, ranging from 42% to 72%. Yet, AED use in public settings is distressingly low at only 13%. This discrepancy underscores an urgent need for enhanced AED accessibility and maintenance, particularly as most cardiac arrests happen in private settings where AED availability is minimal.
- The report unveils a significant public awareness gap, with only 4% of Canadians recognizing cardiac arrest as a potential cause of sudden collapse. Furthermore, 1 in 3 Canadians cannot differentiate between cardiac arrest and a heart attack, with a similar proportion unaware of the high mortality rate of cardiac arrest outside hospital settings.
- The deployment of the PulsePoint Respond app in select areas exemplifies technological advances aiding emergency response. The app instantly connects users, who are trained in CPR, to emergencies requiring immediate CPR intervention in public locations. It alerts users to the nearest AEDs location, significantly reducing response times in cardiac emergencies. This innovative solution plays a crucial role in bridging the gap between cardiac arrest incidents and the arrival of emergency services, enhancing the chances of survival.
- The report notes improvements in dispatcher-assisted CPR and the adoption of hands-only CPR techniques, empowering bystanders to act more confidently and effectively during cardiac emergencies.
- The necessity of strategically placing AEDs in high-traffic, workplace, and rural areas to counter longer EMS response times is emphasized. Mandatory provincial AED registries, accessible to 9-1-1 dispatchers, would enable quick AED location during emergencies. Manitoba and Ontario have enacted legislation for AED registration and public access. Notably, Ontario’s Defibrillator Registration and Public Access Act, passed in June 2020, requires AEDs in all public spaces and the creation of a public AED registry, although its implementation awaits the development of regulations.
- Over the last two decades, Ontario has seen a remarkable increase in community bystander CPR rates from approximately 15% to 50%. Paul Snobelen of Peel Regional Paramedic Services attributes this significant improvement to the widespread adoption of workplace legislated first aid and CPR training. According to him, this policy has been instrumental in enhancing not only workplace safety but also the overall survival rates within the broader community.
- With the majority of cardiac arrests occurring in private settings, the limited availability of AEDs in homes is concerning. This gap signifies a critical area for increased public and private efforts to enhance AED access in residential areas.
- The report illuminates the difficulties in accessing emergency services, particularly in rural and remote areas, which significantly impacts Indigenous communities due to their often isolated locations. It also exposes gender disparities in resuscitation efforts, noting that women are less likely to receive public resuscitation than men. The unique challenges of remote Indigenous communities emphasize the need for targeted strategies to enhance emergency response and CPR training.
The Heart & Stroke 2024 Cardiac Arrest report, while noting some progress, mainly emphasizes the ongoing need for improvement in Canada’s cardiac arrest response. It stresses the importance of public education, legislative initiatives, and expanding AED access to improve survival rates. Our primary aim is to increase AED and CPR training accessibility. Moving forward, addressing these challenges with innovation and collaboration is essential. Despite the progress, much work remains, but with persistent dedication, we can significantly impact survival outcomes.
At Heart to Heart First Aid CPR Services Inc., we’re dedicated to providing essential first aid and CPR training, as well as CPR-only courses, to empower you to save lives. To learn more about our training or to purchase an AED, please contact us.