CPR rates increase as more people attempt to save lives

By June Shannon CPR News   |   18th Oct 2019

Latest report from the National Ambulance Service shows an increase in the number of people in Ireland attempting CPR.

Bystander CPR, where someone who has witnessed or comes across a cardiac arrest steps in to provide CPR, has increased in Ireland by 21 per cent since 2012 and the number of people who survive a cardiac arrest has also increased, the latest figures show.

According to the 2018 annual report from the Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Register (OHCAR), which collects information on the number of and outcomes for people who suffer a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital setting, between 2012 and 2018 there was a 21 per cent increase in bystander CPR and a 9 per cent increase in bystander defibrillation.

In 2018 the rate of bystander CPR in Ireland was 81 per cent up from 60 per cent in 2012 and the rate of bystander defibrillation was 22 per cent up from just 9 per cent in 2012.

CPR is a lifesaving skill and involves pressing hard and fast on the centre of a person’s chest. If you witness a cardiac arrest and perform CPR, you can double, if not triple, the person’s chance of survival.

The report, which was recently published by the National Ambulance Service (NAS), also found that while the overall percentage of people who survive an out of hospital cardiac arrest has remained stable, the total number of survivors increased from 152 in 2017 to 176 in 2018.

" This demonstrates that awareness of how to respond to a cardiac arrest is increasing in Ireland, thereby improving a person’s chances of survival,"

Brigid Sinnott, Resus Manager , Irish Heart Foundation

Commenting on the 2018 OHCAR report Brigid Sinnott, Resuscitation Manager with the Irish Heart Foundation, said, “We are delighted to see in this OHCAR report that the rates of bystander CPR and defibrillation are increasing, and that more people survived a cardiac arrest in 2018 than in 2017. This demonstrates that awareness of how to respond to a cardiac arrest is increasing in Ireland, thereby improving a person’s chances of survival.

These are key objectives for us here at the Irish Heart Foundation. We work with the public and healthcare professionals to improve awareness of how to respond to a cardiac arrest and survival rates from cardiac arrest. We are committed to continuing this work through our various training programmes and awareness work, including Hands for Life, our free community CPR training programme supported by Abbott and ESB Networks. We hope to see these positive trends continue into the future.”

Overall, a total of 2,442 out-of-hospital cardiac arrest incidents were recorded by the OHCAR in 2018 and of these, 71 per cent occurred in an urban area. Two-thirds or 67 per cent were male and while the average age was 67, patients ranged in age from less than one to 100 years old.

A higher proportion of cases in rural areas received bystander CPR compared to urban areas at 82 per cent versus 71 per cent respectively.

In line with previous years the majority or 68 per cent of cardiac arrests that occurred outside a hospital happened in the home and in the vast majority of cases or 81 per cent, a bystander attempted CPR in an effort to save a life.

The report found that women were more likely to collapse in a private setting either at home or in residential institution like a nursing home, and women who suffered a cardiac arrest were also significantly older than men.

The majority or 68 per cent of cardiac arrests that occurred outside a hospital happened in the home


In relation to the cause of the cardiac arrest, the report found that in the majority or 85 per cent there was a medical reason that caused the heart to stop, while a small proportion of cases were due to non-medical causes such as trauma, choking, drug overdose or drowning.

Patients with a presumed medical cause for their collapse were significantly older than all those who suffered a cardiac arrest due to other reasons (70 years versus 44 respectively).

The HSE South Area reported the highest incidence of out of hospital cardiac arrest at 59 per 100,000 people.

The OHCAR is hosted by the Department of Public Health Medicine in the HSE North West and is funded by the NAS. It is administered and supported by the Department of General Practice in the National University of Ireland Galway.

CPR is easy to learn and by completing a CPR course at any stage in your life, you are 10 times more likely to respond and assist in an emergency.

The Irish Heart Foundation provides free CPR training through its Hands for Life: Community CPR Training Programmne, supported by Abbott and ESB Networks.

For more information or to book a course and potentially save a life please see here.


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Related Topics

bystander CPR cardiac arrest CPR Free CPR training Hands for Life heart disease National Ambulance Service OHCAR

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