Bystanders or lifesavers?

Bystanders can make a difference. Image: Urban lifesavers

If bystanders do CPR after a cardiac arrest, they can save lives.

If you’re a bystander, and you do CPR, you can double or even treble survival rates.

In the UK, there are more than 30,000 out of hospital cardiac arrests (OOHCAs) every year. But only 7-9% of people survive. In other countries, survival after an OOHCA is much higher : it’s 21% in North Holland, 20% in Seattle and 25% in Norway.

The low survival rates in England are partly because less than half of bystanders here perform life saving CPR.  This compares with almost three quarters of Norwegians intervening. Survival rates there are up to three times higher.

Every minute without CPR or defibrillation can reduce the chances of survival by around ten per cent. After ten minutes with no CPR or defibrillation, only two out of 100 victims (or less) have a chance of surviving.

So what stops people from helping?

Research conducted for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) has shown that:

• The majority (62%) of UK adults said they would be worried about knowing what to do if they witnessed someone collapse and suffer a cardiac arrest in front of them.

• 59% of those who were worried said they feared making things worse by trying to help

But, after a cardiac arrest, the person has no heart beat. They’re already dead. YOU CANT MAKE THINGS ANY WORSE THAN THIS!

• Just over a third (37%) of people would be confident in performing immediate CPR if someone suffered a cardiac arrest in front of them. 

In many cases where people do take action, bystanders have to be prompted by emergency service operators to act, delaying vital CPR and further reducing the chance of survival


If you don’t know what to do, please watch this BHF video on hands-only CPR

Hands-only is fine for adults.

For kids, you need to do some rescue breaths as well!




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