Improving Knowledge. Saving Lives.

A Cardiac Arrest Survival Foundation Initiative.

Mr JONATHAN O'DEA (Davidson—Parliamentary Secretary) [7.59 p.m. 13 October 2015]:

Cardiac arrest causes thousands of preventable deaths in Australia every year. In New South Wales 3,800 people experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest every year, with around 90 percent subsequently dying.

An Australian Resuscitation Council report indicates that NewSouth Wales survival rates are worsening, despite improvements to cardiopulmonary resuscitation [CPR] guidelines and fewer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests.

In 2004-05, 12.3 per cent of people who had an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest were still alive 90 days later. In 2009-10, this figure dropped to 10.2 per cent, indicating that only one in 10 New South Wales cardiac arrest patients survive their ordeal.

Noting the benchmarks of our neighbouring States, Victoria's out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rate stands at 29 per cent, while Queensland's is 21.3 per cent.

Some benchmarks in the United States are even higher.

New South Wales relative statistics warrant targeted government action.

I should qualify these statistics by noting that there are some data deficiencies and inconsistencies that require addressing.

The Cardiac Arrest Survival Foundation is a charity that works to reduce the number of deaths from cardiac arrest by improving public reliability and accessibility of automatic external defibrillators [AEDs].

The foundation chair is Dr Don Dingsdag and its patron is one of my local constituents, Mr Nick Farr-Jones, the former Wallaby captain who, along with me, is keenly following Australia's excellent progress in the Rugby World Cup.

This month Defibrillator Awareness Month is being marked by an event called Shoctober.

I will be attending a media event along with one of the foundation's founding directors and another local constituent, Reno Aprile, as well as some school students and the media.

The Shoctober campaign encourages workplaces to understand the dangers of cardiac arrest and to consider installing monitored AEDs.

One example of the successful implementation of AEDs is Sydney Trains. In the past six years 26 lives have been saved due to remotely monitored AED systems and CPR-AED training for more than 2,600 employees. I commend Sydney Trains for that initiative.

AED devices can improve the rate of survival after a cardiac arrest by up to 75 per cent.

This is done by guiding the user to perform CPR on patients and administering electric shocks to restore regular heartbeat rhythms.

AEDs are easy to use and do not require extensive training.

Findings reveal that untrained year 6 children can capably use AEDs only 23 seconds slower than trained paramedics.

New South Wales Ministry of Health 2012 research shows that 90 per cent of people in New South Wales suffering out-of-hospital cardiac arrest die, with more than 59 per cent deceased by the time the ambulance team arrives.

Even for the 41 per cent of arrest victims able to present to an emergency department mortality was high, with 61 per cent either deceased upon reaching the emergency department or dying within it.

Of the remaining 16 per cent, it appears from my earlier quoted statistic that the New South Wales survival figure falls to around 10 per cent after 90 days.

It is therefore vital to have ready access to AEDs in public spaces.

The Cardiac Arrest Survival Foundation promotes widespread adoption and regular maintenance of AEDs in public places as well as awareness campaigns to foster confidence in bystanders who can render vital assistance in emergencies.

The foundation is also recommending that the AED Deployment Registry [AEDDR] examine patterns of where and when cardiac arrests occur, who is affected by them and how emergency care outcomes can be improved.

Take Heart Australia is another organisation aiming to increase the survival rate of people in the event of cardiac arrest. It brings experts from healthcare, academia, community, government and the private sector together to create a coordinated and integrated approach to saving lives.

Monday 30 November is Take Heart Australia Day 2015.

On this day 10,000 children will be trained in high quality CPR at Allianz Stadium by NSW Ambulance, St John Ambulance, Surf Life Saving, the Royal Flying Doctor Service and others.

More children will be trained at footy ovals, surf clubs and schools across New South Wales.

Take Heart Australia even hopes to break the Guinness world record for the greatest number of people trained in CPR in one day across multiple venues.

I congratulate the Cardiac Arrest Survival Foundation and Take Heart Australia on their enthusiastic and ongoing efforts to improve cardiac arrest survival rates.

It is encouraging that various government emergency services agencies are collaborating through the Australian Conference for Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Preparedness, but much more needs to be done.

Cardiac Arrest Survival Foundation Extract from NSW Legislative Assembly Hansard and Papers Tuesday 13 October 2015 Page: 77 (Proof).


In Memoriam

Dr Jeff Wassertheil

Dr Jeff Wassertheil founding
director of the Cardiac Arrest
Survival Foundation

Read more


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