Show some heart, to big hearted volunteers

It’s more than a little scary to realise that one in five people wouldn’t know how to recognise a cardiac arrest and 40 per cent would not feel confident to administer CPR.

A National Heart Foundation survey of 1000 Australians found the main reasons they would not assist were a lack of knowledge, lack of confidence, or fear of doing harm to the person.

The survey findings have been released to mark the launch of the Heart Foundation’s largest fundraiser, the Big Heart Appeal.

While there are no formal national figures on cardiac arrest, which is the theme for this year’s Big Heart Appeal, estimates suggest there are around 11,000-15,0001 cases of cardiac arrest among men and women in Australia each year, and around 10,0002 people die from it.

The issue was highlighted last week with the tragic death of Ironman Dean Mercer, who is thought to have suffered a heart event.

A person having a cardiac arrest is more than twice as likely to survive if someone intervenes in the crucial first minutes, but lives are still being lost through lack of awareness and simple training. 

Cardiac arrest symptoms include sudden collapse, sudden loss of consciousness and no, or abnormal, breathing.

Every minute without CPR, your chances of surviving a cardiac arrest go down by ten percent, and after ten minutes without it there is little chance of survival at all.

A cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack. 

You can have a cardiac arrest without having a heart attack, but a heart attack can lead to a cardiac arrest. 

A heart attack is a sudden blockage of a coronary artery that cuts off the blood supply to part of the heart muscle.

The heart still sends blood around the body, and the person remains conscious and is still breathing.

A cardiac arrest is a problem with the electrical system of the heart; the heart suddenly stops beating, resulting in no blood flow to the brain and other vital organs. 

Both are emergencies.

Throughout September, more than 15,000 big hearted volunteers will be knocking on doors across the country to help raise funds for the Heart Foundation’s Big Heart Appeal.

All up it aims to raise more than $1 million.

For more information or to make a donation go to www.bigheartappeal.org.au