New alliance to fight sudden cardiac arrest


Wednesday, 08 June, 2022

New alliance to fight sudden cardiac arrest

A new alliance of Australia’s leading heart experts, paramedics, and CPR and victim family groups is taking united action against sudden cardiac arrest.

This heart problem affects 20,000 Australians each year, and the outcomes are grim: 90% of people who suffer a sudden cardiac arrest will die, 2000 of them under the age of 50.1

These deaths come with two large costs: in the form of untold grief to the thousands of families left behind each year, and nearly $2 billion annually to the economy.2

In older people, the cause is most likely to be a heart attack where a coronary artery suddenly becomes blocked. These generally occur on a background of known risk factors, according to the alliance.

However, in middle-aged and younger people there are several causes of cardiac arrest that are not reliably identified by risk factors. Genetics is a factor but sometimes the cause remains unknown. What is known is that many more thousands of Australians will continue to die from sudden cardiac arrest unless more is done to understand and prevent it.

That’s why the new alliance — which includes The Australian Cardiovascular Alliance, Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, Centenary Institute, End UCD, National Heart Foundation of Australia, Heart of the Nation and Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute — recently called the inaugural National Summit for Cardiac Arrest to develop an urgent strategy to encourage governments to prioritise funding in two key areas:

  1. Education and awareness for bystanders — helping more Australians know how they can try to restart a person’s heart should they be a bystander to a cardiac arrest, increasing the survival rate.
  2. Understanding who is at risk and how it can be prevented — a greater commitment by governments to fund research that will unlock the mystery behind the cause of sudden cardiac arrest, leading to better prevention.
References
  1. Help End Unexplained Cardiac Death https://www.enducd.org/
  2. Media release: Sudden cardiac arrest costs Australia nearly $2 billion annually https://baker.edu.au/news/media-releases/ucd-cost

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/pixelaway

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