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What do you do when you see someone who is suffering a cardiac arrest? Well, even if you are not a trained medical professional, there are some things you can do to potentially save a life.
The Stomp Team were introduced to how to do so with basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) as well as with an automated external defibrillator (AED) by the Singapore Heart Foundation on Monday (Oct 30).
We first tried our hand at CPR by conducting chest compressions on a mannequin. This procedure helps to circulate blood around a victim's body with hopes of delivering oxygen to their brains until more definitive treatment can be administered.
During the one-hour session, we also took turns to learn how to properly resuscitate a victim with an AED, a device that delivers electric shocks to help one reestablish an effective heart rhythm following a cardiac arrest.
For the unfamiliar, a cardiac arrest occurs when the heart malfunctions and stops beating unexpectedly. After this happens, breathing ceases and blood stops flowing to the brain as well as vital organs. If not treated within minutes, a cardiac arrest will likely lead to death.
Cardiac arrest should not be confused with a heart attack, which is characterised by a blockage of blood flow to the heart. Heart attacks can lead to a cardiac arrest, but both conditions are different.
CPR and AEDs should only be administered if a victim goes into cardiac arrest and has no signs of breathing. This can be determined by either checking for a pulse or looking out for movement on the victim's chest. If an individual is still conscious and able to breathe properly, the procedures should not be carried out.
About 2,000 deaths in Singapore result from out-of-hospital cardiac arrests every year and the survival rate of victims is just 13.8 per cent, according to the Singapore Heart Foundation.
With every passing minute, the victim’s survival rate drops by 7-10 per cent if nothing is done to restart the heart while waiting for an ambulance to arrive.
The high fatality rate can be attributed to the fact that just 20 per cent of bystanders are inclined to perform CPR and to use an AED when they encounter a cardiac arrest victim, due to the lack of knowledge or confidence to administer the techniques.
Some, like the Stomp Team before the training session, might wrongly conclude that the administration of CPR and AEDs is difficult before actually trying their hand at the techniques.
At the training session, however, we were able to get our techniques right after a few tries with some help from the trainers. Saving a life was easier than we expected and we are sure it will be a breeze for others out there to pick up as well.
The demonstration was part of the ‘Restart A Heart’ campaign launched by Temasek Foundation Cares in partnership with Tribal Worldwide and Singapore Press Holdings.
The initiative aims to highlight the importance of knowing chest compression as well as the usage of an AED.
Said Woon Saet Nyoon, Chief Executive, Temasek Foundation Cares:
“The Restart A Heart programme is part of Temasek Foundation Cares’ efforts to equip Singaporeans to stay prepared for emergencies. When the heart stops, the best way to raise the chances of survival is to begin chest compressions as soon as possible, and to get an AED Heart Restarter to bring the heart back to a normal rhythm. We are glad to partner SPH in spreading this urgent message to our communities and encouraging them to be equipped with life-saving skills.”
Have a look at what the Stomp Team did, as well as a couple of interesting videos from the Singapore Heart Foundation and Temasek Foundation Cares, in the clips below.