Latest report on out of hospital cardiac arrests published

By June Shannon CPR News   |   2nd Nov 2020

The latest OHCAR report shows improvement in rate of bystander CPR

Latest figures show that there has been an improvement in the number of people who survived a cardiac arrest in the community in 2019 compared to 2018, and in the rate of bystander CPR, where someone has witnessed or come across a cardiac arrest and stepped in to attempt CPR.

According to the 2019 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 2019, there was a 17 per cent increase in bystander CPR and the number of people who survived to hospital discharge increased from 176 in 2018 to 190 in 2019. The report also found that the vast majority of people who survived had good neurological function on hospital discharge.

In 2018 the rate of bystander CPR was 81 per cent and this increased to 84 per cent last year.

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 Out of hospital cardiac arrest report 2019 issued today shows some positive increases in survival and bystander CPR, these increases are small but for every life saved this has a huge impact on the survivor's family.”

Brigid Sinnott, Resuscitation Manager, The Irish Heart Foundation

The report, also found that the vast majority of people who survive consistently have good neurological function on hospital discharge.

Commenting Brigid Sinnott, Resuscitation Manager at the Irish Heart Foundation said, “The Out of hospital cardiac arrest report 2019 issued today shows some positive increases in survival and bystander CPR, these increases are small but for every life saved this has a huge impact on the survivors family.”

Overall, there were 2,564 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests recorded by OHCAR in 2019 and more than half of these or 69 per cent occurred in an urban area.

The vast majority of these cardiac arrests or 86 per cent had a presumed medical cause that caused the heart to stop beating while a small proportion of cases were due to non-medical causes such as trauma, choking, drug overdose or drowning.

The report also found that 68 per cent of these cardiac arrests happened in the home with 67 per cent occurring in men and the median age was 68. It found that 18 per cent of patients who collapsed in a public location survived, compared to 4 per cent of patients who collapsed in a private location

The 2019 OHCAR report found that cardiac arrest patients ranged in age from less than one to 103 years of age

.

The 2019 OHCAR report found that cardiac arrest patients ranged in age from less than one to 103 years of age with women being more likely to collapse in a private setting i.e. at home or in residential setting like a nursing home.

While the majority of cardiac arrests occur in older age groups, 8 per cent of cardiac arrests reported by OHCAR occurred in 2019 were in patients under the age of 35. Of these, 46 per cent were caused by a presumed medical reason, 12 per cent were caused by trauma (road traffic accident, gunshot, stabbing, crush injuries or fall), 19 per cent of cases resulted from a drug overdose. More than one in 10 or 11 per cent of cardiac arrests in this age group were initially shockable and 9.5 per cent or 20 survived to hospital discharge. This is a significant increase on the 2018 figure where 5 per cent or 11 in this cohort survived according to OCHAR.

In relation to defibrillation, the report found that defibrillation was attempted in 25 per cent of cases (187) before the arrival of the emergency services. Members of the public used the defibrillator to deliver the first shock to the patient in 23 per cent of cases, doctors in 18 per cent of cases, someone who was trained in Basic Life Support (BLS) or a trained Cardiac First Responder 17 per cent, member of the local fire services 12 per cent, voluntary services 12 per cent, nurses and “others” including occupational first aiders and members of An Garda Síochána 7 per cent. The report also found that almost half of the patients who survived a cardiac arrest or 49 per cent, received defibrillation before the ambulance arrived.

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

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The Irish Heart Foundation has recently launched an innovative online campaign to teach the public how to save a life with CPR.

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