NEARLY half of UK adults (43 per cent) have never learnt CPR, according to new figures released today by the British Heart Foundation (BHF). The nationally representative survey suggests as many as 23 million are yet to learn the skills to save a life.
The shocking figures have been revealed as the British Heart Foundation (BHF) calls on the nation to learn CPR during Heart Month in February, with the message to help protect the heart of someone you love. With around 80 per cent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happening in the home, you’re often likely to perform CPR on a loved one.
A survey which was carried out for the BHF by Censuswide, also suggests an alarming number of UK households don’t have anyone who knows how to perform CPR. Of those respondents who answered that they hadn’t learnt CPR, nearly three-fifths (58 per cent) then said that no one in their household had learnt the lifesaving skill either.
There are over 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests every year in the UK. Tragically, less than one in ten people survive, a statistic the BHF is determined to improve by giving everyone the opportunity to learn CPR.
Performing quick CPR and defibrillation in the event of a cardiac arrest can be the difference between life and death.
The charity’s free and innovative online training tool RevivR can teach CPR and the correct steps of defibrillator use in just 15 minutes. Quick CPR and defibrillation can more the double the chances of survival.
The survey also found generational and geographical differences in CPR awareness:
- Gen Z (age 16-26) is the generation best trained in CPR, with 67 per cent having learnt, compared to 51 per cent of the baby boomer (age 59-77) generation and 52 per cent of the Gen X generation (age 43-58).
- Almost nine in 10 (89 per cent) 2 Brits believe that learning CPR is important, and yet only 40 per cent of respondents could pick the correct first step of CPR – making sure it’s safe to approach and checking for a response from an unconscious person.
- Northern Ireland is the best-trained part of the UK, with 74 per cent of respondents saying they have learnt CPR.
As a first aid trainer, Daisy Devane from Stewartby, Bedfordshire, knows only too well the importance of CPR, teaching others the skill herself as part of her day job. However, her own life would need to be saved by her partner Eammon in 2022, when she had a cardiac arrest in their living room. She was just 30 at the time.
Eammon, in bed sick with Covid on that day, suddenly heard strange noises and rushed downstairs. He found Daisy unconscious on the sofa, lifted her onto the floor and called 999. Eammon began CPR and performed compressions for 12 minutes until help arrived.
When the ambulance reached the couple’s home, the paramedics rushed in to give medical attention, but in a bizarre twist of fate paramedic on the scene Jeremy Williams suddenly collapsed in their living room himself from a heart attack.
Another ambulance and an air ambulance arrived at the scene. Daisy said:
“Eammon watched the whole surreal episode unfold. Incredibly, both survived the day’s events. Eammon could only stand and observe as paramedics worked on Daisy and Jeremy at the same time.”
“When I called in sick to work that morning, this was the last thing I ever thought would happen. It felt surreal watching the events unfold. It feels like a miracle that no one died that day.”
Daisy’s heart was shocked five times by a defibrillator. She said:
“I was taken by ambulance to Bedford Hospital and was sedated. I woke up three days later in the ICU with no memory of what had happened. In total I was in hospital for 33 days and had an S-ICD (subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator) fitted, to shock my heart if it happens again.
“I didn’t even know until I was out of hospital about Jeremy’s heart attack. It feels like a miracle, that two lives were saved that day. Jeremy and the other paramedics saved my life and I’ll be eternally grateful.”
Daisy and Eammon went on to tie the knot in July 2023. She said:
“How many people get to marry someone who saved their life?”
Since returning to work, Daisy has been using her own story to bring the importance of CPR training to life.
Jeremy Williams, emergency medical technician at East of England Ambulance Service, said:
“When we arrived, Daisy’s condition was really serious. I was resuscitating her when I felt such intense pain. Fortunately, my colleagues immediately realised what was happening and attached an ECG which confirmed I was having a heart attack.
“It was one of those things that you never think will happen to you. If it hadn’t been for my colleagues, I wouldn’t be here today. I couldn’t have had better people around me.”
Jeremy was taken to Lister Hospital where he had two stents fitted, returning to work six months later.
Learn lifesaving skills for free
The BHF is now urging the public to learn CPR for free in just 15 minutes – using its online tool, RevivR. The tool means anyone can learn lifesaving CPR skills, anywhere, anytime – and all that is needed is a mobile phone and a cushion.
RevivR teaches you how to recognise a cardiac arrest, gives feedback on chest compressions and outlines the correct steps of using a defibrillator, giving anyone the confidence to step in and help save a life.
Dr Charmaine Griffiths, Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation, said:
“Every moment matters when someone has a cardiac arrest, and being able to step in and perform CPR could be the difference between life and death. A cardiac arrest can affect anyone, at any time, so we want as many people to learn CPR as possible.
“Not enough of us are confident and ready to use this skill. With our tool RevivR, all you need to learn how to save a life is a spare 15 minutes, a phone and a cushion. Give it a try during your next coffee or lunch break – it could help you save a life, a loved one.”
“Everyone should try out the BHF’s RevivR tool this February and learn CPR. It can be the difference between life and death, as it was for me.”
AJ Bell Futures Foundation is supporting Heart Month 2024, joining forces with BHF to inspire more people to learn lifesaving CPR skills. They will be donating £5 for every person we train this February, capped at £50,000.
To support the British Heart Foundation this Heart Month and find out more about RevivR, visit bhf.org.uk/heartmonth. To try RevivR, go to: bhf.org.uk/revivr.