Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest (OHCA) is a life-threatening emergency that demands swift intervention. This medical condition occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating, leading to the sudden stop of blood flow and oxygen supply to vital organs. Time is of the essence in such situations, making awareness and rapid response critical factors in improving outcomes.

Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest refers to the abrupt cessation of the heart's pumping function that occurs outside of a hospital or medical facility. During a cardiac arrest, the heart's electrical system malfunctions, causing an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). This leads to loss of consciousness and requires prompt treatment of Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and shock by defibrillator.


Causes and Risk Factors:

SCA strikes at any time without warning and sadly, no one is immune regardless of gender, age, fitness level, ethnicity or geography. Sadly, 90-95% of people who suffer from SCA will die.

  • Coronary Artery Disease: The most common cause of OHCA is coronary artery disease, where blood vessels supplying the heart become narrowed or blocked, restricting blood flow.
  • Arrhythmias: Abnormal heart rhythms, particularly ventricular fibrillation (VF) or ventricular tachycardia (VT), can trigger cardiac arrest.
  • Heart Attack: A heart attack may lead to OHCA, especially if it results in significant damage to the heart muscle.
  • Heart Valve Disease: Certain heart valve conditions can contribute to cardiac arrest.
  • Drug Overdose: Some drug overdoses, especially those affecting the heart's electrical system, can lead to cardiac arrest.

Electrolyte Imbalance: An imbalance in essential minerals like potassium, sodium, and calcium can disrupt the heart's normal functioning.




The Critical Role of Bystander CPR and defibrillation:

Bystander CPR is a crucial link in the chain of survival for individuals experiencing OHCA. Immediate CPR and the use of a defibrillator can help maintain blood flow to the brain and vital organs until professional medical help arrives.

Community Awareness and Education:

Raising public awareness about the signs of cardiac arrest and the importance of swift action is paramount. Community education programs, CPR training initiatives, and public access to defibrillators contribute significantly to improving survival rates.

Understanding the causes, recognising the signs, and promoting community involvement through CPR training and defibrillator accessibility are crucial steps in enhancing survival rates. In moments of crisis, every second counts, and by collectively embracing a culture of preparedness, we can make a significant impact on saving lives threatened by Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrests.


Cardiac Coverage Report 2024

This report follows on from 2022/23 focusing on the survival rates from collapse to hospital discharge in the event of an Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest. Our 2024 report shows a big increase of registered and available defibrillators across the UK. With many areas showing a positive increase in available defibrillators per 10,000 people.

Read More:  Click here


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