MANILA, Philippines — Put your hands to good use, learn basic CPR and save lives.
The Philippine Heart Association (PHA) said cardiac pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) could help trim down the number of deaths caused by out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, of which 80 percent occurred at home.
PHA records showed that roughly 50 percent of deaths from cardiovascular diseases happened as sudden cardiac arrest and most were witnessed by a family member.
But only four to six percent of sudden cardiac arrest patients survived because majority of those who witnessed it were clueless about CPR, Dr. Francis Lavapie, chairman of the PHA Council on CPR, said at a health forum in Quezon City.
The PHA Council on CPR conducts training on basic and advanced cardiac life support in villages, schools and offices, among others.
Lavapie also cited current global figures showing that 53 percent of all out-of-hospital cardiac arrest cases were witnessed by a bystander but only 36 percent of these cases received CPR, making survival rate to hospital admission at 23. 8 percent.
“We really need to address this. [We have to] find ways to increase the survival rate…We want to educate and create awareness that every Filipino, even grade school or high school students must know how to do proper CPR,” said Lavapie at a health forum in Quezon City.
“We want the Philippines to be CPR-ready,” he added.
Lavapie pointed out that CPR is an easy and life-saving procedure and can be learned by anyone. “One doesn’t need to be a doctor to learn how to do CPR,” he said.
He also stressed that CPR must begin within four to six minutes after cardiac arrest to prevent brain death. “CPR is the best treatment for cardiac arrest until the arrival of Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support care,” he said.
“It should be done as soon as possible because brain cells begin to die after four to six minutes without oxygen. Our main goal is to maintain neurological function intact,” said Lavapie.
The PHA, an organization of heart specialists in the country, is also lobbying for the passage of a law or an ordinance requiring all public places such as airports and malls and other business establishments to install a portable emergency heart-reviving device called automated external defibrillators (AED).
The AED automatically diagnoses fatal cardiac arrhythmias and is able to treat them through defibrillation, which is the use of electrical therapy that stops the arrhythmia and allows the heart to reestablish an effective rhythm.
Dr. Orlando Bugarin, former chairman of the PHA Council on CPR, said patients of sudden cardiac arrest would have higher chances of surviving if CPR was promptly followed by defibrillation through the use of the handy device.
Bugarin said the AED should be a “must-have” device in public areas and buildings in the Philippines just like the fire extinguisher. Cardiovascular diseases are still the top leading cause of death in the country. In 2009, roughly 167,000 Filipinos died from heart disease and stroke, health records showed.
“In the US, Japan and Singapore, AEDs are ubiquitous tools you find in every corner of the road. These countries have cut their cardiovascular deaths because of AEDs,” he added.