How every second counts
MOST cardiac arrest survivors have their heart restarted within 30 minutes of CPR beginning.
But modern resuscitation techniques are increasing survival times and people can now recover when their heart has stopped for more than an hour.
If CPR starts early – and every minute counts – someone can be technically dead for this long without any brain damage.
They are more likely to die if no defibrillator is used or they have ‘flatlined’ with no electrical heart activity for 20 minutes. Those who survive unscathed may have no memory of the days after their cardiac arrest because of the lack of blood flow and oxygen to the brain. But these memory problems, made worse by sedation in intensive care, improve over time.
A cardiac arrest means the heart stops pumping blood around the body and only eight out of 100 people who have one in Britain survive to leave hospital. The Resuscitation Council is working to teach more people how to perform mouth-to-mouth and chest compressions.