A Heart-Stopping Improvement

By jonathanblack Last edited 200 months ago

Last Updated 24 October 2007

A Heart-Stopping Improvement

After last week’s news that our ambulances are the best in the country, Londoners should be pleased to hear that there’s now another reason why, if you’re going to have medical trouble, you may as well do it in the capital. Londoners’ chances of surviving a cardiac arrest outside the hospital have more than trebled in the last five years, according to a new report by the London Ambulance Service. About one in six people who had their heart stop in the presence of another person ended up walking out of a hospital alive in the last year, whereas five years ago their chances would only have been one in twenty.

So that’s good news. But the report also found that bystanders only performed CPR in a third of all cases of cardiac arrests, presumably because most people just don’t know how. Luckily, it turns out that the ever-helpful London Ambulance Service will teach you for free. Londonist never misses a chance to trumpet a freebie, but it’s pretty rare we can tell you about one that might save a life.

Incidentally, cardiac arrests are different from heart attacks – and scarier. Heart attacks are about restricted blood flow to the ticker, but in a cardiac arrest the person’s heart just stops. They lose consciousness, and don’t breathe or show signs of circulation, which is why being able to perform CPR before the ambulance arrives is such a huge help. This Londonista didn’t know there was a difference – maybe watching more Casualty is the answer.

To find out more about the London Ambulance Service’s free CPR training, call 020 7463 3120 or email [email protected].

Image taken from welovethedark's Flickr photostream.