I am
Show me:
Show me:
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

A Q&A with Dr Janet Bray

Helping to improve bystander CPR rates and save hundreds of lives in Australia each year.

Adjunct Associate Professor Dr Janet Bray is a Heart Foundation Fellow and Senior Research Fellow at Monash University’s School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine. She is also Associate Director of the Australian Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium (Aus-ROC) at the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence.

Dr Bray and her team are currently analysing the results of a review of more than 175 triple zero call recordings in cases of cardiac arrest where the patient did not receive (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) CPR from a bystander. The findings could help improve bystander CPR rates and save hundreds of lives in Australia each year.

How did you get into research?

I got into research following a career as a critical care nurse. I wanted to continue to make an impact on patients’ lives and I saw this as a great way to do it on a large scale.

I was working in a hospital and we were trying to improve the processes of the patients coming through emergency department when they were having an acute stroke. In doing that I uncovered that patient delay – the period from when symptoms first begin until they arrive in hospital - was quite significant.

I wanted to look at why that that was occurring so I launched into a PhD looking at factors related to pre-hospital delay and stroke.

What were some of the key findings of your PhD?

One of the key findings was that people were taking a long time to recognise the symptoms of a stroke in themselves and others. We also did an evaluation of the Stroke Foundation campaign as part of that process and we found that people who had seen that campaign were more likely to present to hospital faster.

It was incredibly rewarding to know that these large-scale campaigns, which can be quite expensive, are actually making a large impact across Australia.

How important was funding from the Heart Foundation for your work?

Much of my career has been funded by the Heart Foundation – my PhD, my post-doc and now my Future Leader Fellowship. This has allowed me to look at ways that we can improve the public’s recognition and response to acute cardiovascular symptoms.

Without the Heart Foundation support, I would probably be working for someone else rather than pursuing my own independent research career so it’s enabled me to pursue this line of research.

What are you currently researching?

I’m currently working on a study which is exploring regional variation in rates of bystander CPR. We uncovered that 40 per cent of cardiac arrest patients received bystander CPR and that only increases to 60 per cent if you see someone collapsing and having a cardiac arrest.

We wanted to uncover why that’s occurring and in doing so we uncovered that bystander CPR rates were varying quite significantly between regions as small as neighbourhoods that were right next to each other.

The Heart Foundation Vanguard grant that I got has allowed me to measure CPR training rates and we found that regions that have low bystander CPR rates also have lower rates of CPR training.

We then listened to the emergency calls from those regions with low bystander CPR to see if we could uncover the barriers to performing CPR and we found that even though when you call up 000 and you get bystander CPR instructions down the telephone that these calls in these regions weren’t progressing to that point.

What progress and discoveries have you made?

Some of the barriers we identified around why people don’t provide bystander CPR are communications issues, a lack of confidence and the emotional state of the caller.

The people calling 000 were having large difficulties in identifying that a person was actually in cardiac arrest.
Some people were calling up 000 from a landline and the person having a cardiac arrest was in the other room so they were having to run backwards and forwards and do these checks with the person so that was a barrier and that took up a lot of time as you can imagine.

For other people, there was a lack of confidence in knowing what to do so some people progressed through to the CPR instruction part of the call and didn’t feel confident or comfortable at all performing CPR.

Why is it important that bystanders perform CPR until an ambulance arrives?

We know that CPR doubles a person’s chance for surviving a cardiac arrest and any attempt is better than nothing.
Finding someone in arrest, because they essentially are dead and they look quite still, can be a heightened experience, to say the least, and people do get quite distressed by that, but having training and knowing what to look for and knowing what to do can help with that, we believe.

CPR training improves a person’s confidence to perform CPR and their ability to identify cardiac arrest. You can be CPR trained on the internet, you can get take-home DVDs or you can go through a more formal process of a first aid course. Anyone can learn CPR these days and we believe that everyone should.

Do you have a message for Heart Foundation supporters?

The Heart Foundation helps to fund research programs like mine. 

WHAT NEXT?

The Heart Foundation Alumni Program

The Heart Foundation Alumni Program

The Heart Foundation Alumni Program

Stay connected with your research alumni community. ...

Research Alumni

Research Alumni

Research Alumni

The Heart Foundation Alumni Program brings together current and previously funded researchers to create a community of the best and brightest in heart-related research....

Our research stories

Our research stories

Our research stories

We fund amazing researchers who have important stories to tell...

Thrombus-targeted theranostic microbubbles

Thrombus-targeted theranostic microbubbles

Thrombus-targeted theranostic microbubbles

Breaking down blood clots...

Life changing research currently underway

Life changing research currently underway

Life changing research currently underway

Search our current researcher's and the ground breaking research being undertaken....

A simple test may lead to better treatment

A simple test may lead to better treatment

A simple test may lead to better treatment

Dr Jay Ramchand discusses his latest research project....

Research funding programs

Research funding programs

Research funding programs

The Heart Foundation supports outstanding researchers who share our vision of an Australia free from heart disease. ...

Intelligent microbubbles

Intelligent microbubbles

Intelligent microbubbles

What are microbubbles and why are they important?...

Managing your funding

Managing your funding

Managing your funding

Resources to help manage your grant, scholarship or fellowship....

Encouraging cardiovascular research excellence in NSW

Encouraging cardiovascular research excellence in NSW

Encouraging cardiovascular research excellence in NSW

A ground-breaking collaboration bringing together for the first time the state’s most eminent cardiovascular researchers...

About Queensland Cardiovascular Research Network

About Queensland Cardiovascular Research Network

About Queensland Cardiovascular Research Network

QCVRN provides a framework to strengthen cardiovascular research in Queensland...

Applying for research funding with the Heart Foundation

Applying for research funding with the Heart Foundation

Applying for research funding with the Heart Foundation

Discover more about our various funding programs, requirements, and application dates now....

Apply for funding

Apply for funding

Apply for funding

Visit our research funding portal to apply for Heart Fundation funding...

The Heart Foundation Research Program

The Heart Foundation Research Program

The Heart Foundation Research Program

We are Australia’s biggest non-government funder of world-class research into heart health. Learn more about our high impact research. ...

Associate Professor Andrew Steer

Associate Professor Andrew Steer

Award-winning heart research could help prevent rheumatic heart disease....

Associate Professor Nadine Kasparian

Associate Professor Nadine Kasparian

Associate Professor Nadine Kasparian

Understanding the connections between our physical and mental health....

Q&A with Dr. Dion Stub

Q&A with Dr. Dion Stub

Q&A with Dr. Dion Stub

Treating patients when their heart stops beating...

Michelle Bovill

Michelle Bovill

Michelle Bovill

Co-developing health information appropriate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander communities....

Encouraging cardiovascular research excellence in South Australia

Encouraging cardiovascular research excellence in South Australia

Encouraging cardiovascular research excellence in South Australia

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Join the fight against Australia’s biggest killer by supporting the Heart Foundation.  ...

My Heart, My Life - Managing your heart health

My Heart, My Life - Managing your heart health

My Heart, My Life - Managing your heart health

This booklet is for those diagnosed with heart disease and their support people....

The Heart Foundation Research Program

The Heart Foundation Research Program

The Heart Foundation Research Program

We are Australia’s biggest non-government funder of world-class research into heart health. Learn more about our high impact research. ...

Stay informed about COVID-19

Stay informed about COVID-19

Stay informed about COVID-19

If you have heart disease, you are more vulnerable to severe complications....

Support and resources for health care professionals

Support and resources for health care professionals

Support and resources for health care professionals

Our range of clinical and patient support resources are available for you to use in your daily practice....

Cook with Heart

Cook with Heart

Cook with Heart

Join the Cook with Heart Challenge as seen on Channel 7...

Clinical Guidelines

Clinical Guidelines

Clinical Guidelines

Full list of clinical guidlines and references for CVD, heart failure, ACS, hypertension, atrial fibrillation, SCAD and RHD...

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Join the Heart Foundation community. Together, we can make a real difference for Australian hearts. ...

Understanding your heart age

Understanding your heart age

Understanding your heart age

Try our Heart Age Calculator to understand what contributes to your risk of heart disease...

Physical activity resources

Physical activity resources

Physical activity resources

Resources for health professionals interested in physical activity....

Aboriginal heart health

Aboriginal heart health

Aboriginal heart health

Visit the St Vincents Hospital NSW and Heart Foundation Aboriginal heart health website for more information...

Food and nutrition position statements

Food and nutrition position statements

Food and nutrition position statements

A quick guide to the evidence behind the Heart Foundation’s new dietary guidelines....

Absolute CVD risk assessment resources

Absolute CVD risk assessment resources

Resources and clinical information for health professionals...

COVID-19 info & FAQs

COVID-19 info & FAQs

COVID-19 info & FAQs

Information and FAQs about COVID-19 and heart disease....

Supporting Young Hearts Program

Supporting Young Hearts Program

Information and resources for health professionals who are treating patients between 18 - 40 years of age....

Key Statistics: Heart attack

Key Statistics: Heart attack

Acute coronary syndromes (ACS) clinical resources

Acute coronary syndromes (ACS) clinical resources

Resources and clinical information for health professionals...

Australian Heart Maps

Australian Heart Maps

Australian Heart Maps

Our Heart Maps allow you to take a closer look at heart disease indicators across Australia....

How to volunteer with us

How to volunteer with us

How to volunteer with us

Join our volunteers and make a difference to the heart health of Australians....

Fit, active and healthy – Sharon wasn’t expecting a heart attack

Fit, active and healthy – Sharon wasn’t expecting a heart attack

Fit, active and healthy – Sharon wasn’t expecting a heart attack

Fit, active and healthy, Sharon wasn’t expecting a heart attack. However, after experiencing a ‘widow maker’, she counts herself lucky....

Snack recipes

Snack recipes

Snack recipes

Search for healthy snack ideas...

Healthy eating to protect your heart

Healthy eating to protect your heart

Healthy eating to protect your heart

What does a heart-friendly diet look like?...

Dairy and your heart health

Dairy and your heart health

Dairy and your heart health

Not all dairy products are equal. Discover different types of dairy foods and their impact on heart health....

Philanthropic investments

Philanthropic investments

Philanthropic investments

Making philanthropic investments through the Heart Foundation can transform Australians’ health. ...

Peter is breathing easy again after heart valve surgery

Peter is breathing easy again after heart valve surgery

Peter is breathing easy again after heart valve surgery

Peter has lived with a rare heart condition since he was 14, but hadn’t given it too much thought until his 30s....

From diagnosis at 37 to heart surgery, rehab and now

From diagnosis at 37 to heart surgery, rehab and now

From diagnosis at 37 to heart surgery, rehab and now

Claude Lam, Open heart surgery survivor...

What is FoodTrack?

What is FoodTrack?

Foodtrack supports the collection and monitoring of nutrition and product data for foods and beverages in Australian supermarkets. ...

Physical activity and your heart health

Physical activity and your heart health

Physical activity and your heart health

Physical activity and exercise can benefit your heart, body and mind....

Know your risk: Family history and heart disease 

Know your risk: Family history and heart disease 

Know your risk: Family history and heart disease 

A family history of heart disease could mean you are at greater risk....

Heart conditions in women

Heart conditions in women

Heart conditions in women

Like men, women can be diagnosed with a range of heart conditions....