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Learn how to save a life - Take Heart Australia Day

27 November 2015
500 Australians die from sudden cardiac arrest every week

University of Sydney alumni are on a mission to increase the survival rate of sudden cardiac arrest.

University of Sydney emergency medicine experts will lead thousands of people in learning cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on Monday November 30, as part of Take Heart Australia Day 2015.

Led by Clinical Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine Paul Middleton and Sydney Nursing School student and intensive care paramedic Janelle White, the event will attempt to break the world record by training 20,000 people in high-quality CPR in one day.

Held at Allianz stadium, the free event is an initiative of Take Heart Australia, a charity co-founded by University of Sydney alumni Dr Middleton, Janelle White, and Suzanne Davies, with the mission to dramatically increase the survival rate of Australians who suffer cardiac arrest.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), where a persons’ heart suddenly stops working, claims the lives of more than 500 Australians every week. It can happen anywhere, at any time and is a leading cause of death in Australia. Four Australians under the age of 35 die from SCA every week.

 “Each year in Australia around 30,000 people experience a sudden cardiac arrest. The shocking reality is that only 9 to 10 per cent survive,” said Associate Professor Middleton.

“Compare that figure with a city like Seattle in the USA where more than 60 per cent of people survive a shockable cardiac arrest. This is because three-quarters of their population are trained in CPR - mainly in schools, universities, and in the workplace.

“If more people knew basic CPR in Australia, we could turn that statistic right around. Early, high-quality CPR can double or triple the chance of survival,” he said.

Paramedic Janelle White said after a sudden cardiac arrest, the first 5 minutes hold the key to survival.

“People can experience brain damage 3 to 4 minutes after the heart stops, so immediate action is crucial.

“I often arrive at the scene of a cardiac arrest where no one is doing anything - no CPR, no defibrillation.  This makes my job and survival for the patient so much harder as precious minutes are ticking past.

“If people started CPR and could easily find a defibrillator (AED) they would be ‘buying’ the patient valuable ‘heart and mind’ time and could save their life,” she said.

Dr Middleton added that the average response time for an ambulance is 8 to 10 minutes.

“We need more people in the community who are trained and willing to provide CPR and more easily accessible defibrillators (AED) to increase Australia’s survival rate.

“That’s why Take Heart Australia day is so important – you’ll learn how to save someone’s life.

“The best part is, you don’t have to be a health professional - anyone can learn CPR,” he said.

Event details:

WHEN:  Monday 30 November 2015. One-hour training sessions will run from 8:30am onwards

WHERE: Allianz Stadium, Moore Park, Sydney

HOW:    Register now at www.takeheartaustralia.org/signup/

COST: Free event

Hashtag: #THADay15

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