Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is the UK’s biggest killer. Studies show that approximately 100,000 deaths occur annually due to sudden cardiac death, of which 80% could be avoided if diagnosed earlier or if a defibrillator had been made available within minutes of the event.
That’s why I was really pleased to hear that Tesco is to install defibrillators in over 900 of its stores across the UK. These defibrillators will not only help Tesco customers and colleagues, they will provide many communities with their only access to this life-saving equipment.
My charity, The Arrhythmia Alliance, raises awareness, and improves diagnosis, treatment and quality of life for people with cardiac arrhythmias. We campaign to spread the word that defibrillators save lives.
When SCA occurs, it is critically important that whoever is near the victim calls 999 immediately and checks for signs of life. If there are none, the individual should give CPR and use the nearest defibrillator. This is lifesaving care that anyone can provide. For every minute without CPR and defibrillation, a person’s chance of survival decreases by around 10 percent. Defibrillators are easy to use, they display instructions and talk you through what you need to do. You cannot harm anyone by using a defibrillator, however you CAN save a life.
One of the most high profile instances of public defibrillators saving lives comes from our patron, Fabrice Muamba. Fabrice is a former footballer, who in 2012, suffered a cardiac arrest whilst playing for Bolton Wanderers in an FA Cup match. During the cardiac arrest, his heart stopped beating for 78 minutes. Fabrice made a remarkable recovery after he was helped by the use of a defibrillator.