Tragically, the first sign someone has heart trouble can be when they suddenly die. But thanks to donations to campaigns like the Big Heart Appeal, the Heart Foundation is funding the best and brightest researchers to unlock the mysteries of the heart.
New Heart Foundation research has shown 1 in 5 Australians don’t know how to recognise a cardiac arrest and 40% wouldn’t feel confident to administer CPR due to lack of knowledge or fear of doing harm to the person.
Someone suffering a cardiac arrest is more than twice as likely to survive with intervention in the crucial first minutes.
Heart Foundation CEO, Adjunct Professor John Kelly says “We know that every minute without CPR your chances of surviving a cardiac arrest go down by 10% and after ten minutes without it there is little chance of survival. So, if you see someone in this situation, call an ambulance immediately. Call operators can talk you through how to administer CPR in those vital first minutes before other help arrives.”
Cardiac arrest symptoms, include sudden collapse, sudden loss of consciousness and no, or abnormal breathing.
Thanks to Heart Foundation funding, researcher Dr Janet Bray from Monash University has been looking at ways to improve cardiac arrest survival rates through community education.
“We reviewed over 175 triple zero call (000) recordings in cases of cardiac arrest where the patient did not receive CPR from a bystander. We wanted to try and understand the reasons why people did not intervene,” she said.
“The caller got as far as receiving CPR instructions from the call operator in only 19 per cent of cases. The main reasons for this low figure were time lost due to communication issues, including calling from a landline that was not near the patient, a lack of knowledge about signs of cardiac arrest and the benefit of intervening, and personal factors such as frailty and emotional state.”
“The first few minutes after a cardiac arrest are critical to survival, and Heart Foundation research funding is vital to try and improve the community response, so we can ensure that people have the best chance of recovery,” she said.
Dr Ingles focuses on the management of a family’s wellbeing following a sudden cardiac death caused by a genetic heart disease.
Dr Medi is researching inherited cardiac disease to determine whether an ECG can be used to predict risk of heart disease.
The current research objective for Dr Stub is to reduce the rates of death and disability for people following cardiac emergencies of heart attack and cardiac arrest.