Nat’l CPR Day: Machines spell life and death | Inquirer News

Nat’l CPR Day: Machines spell life and death

By: - Content Researcher Writer / @inquirerdotnet
/ 05:07 PM July 17, 2023

Nat’l CPR Day: Machines spell life and death


MANILA, Philippines—Almost 10 years since the law requiring basic education students to be trained on emergency life support response, the Philippine Heart Association (PHA) said there is a need, too, to deploy life-saving devices to barangays.

The focus turned on this as the Philippines marked the National Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Day to commemorate the enactment of Republic Act No. 10871 on July 17, 2016.


Looking back, the law was initiated in Congress months after Samboy Lim, one of the PBA’s greatest players, collapsed before an exhibition game on Nov. 28, 2014. He was unconscious for 23 minutes before reaching the hospital, where he slipped into a coma.


RELATED STORY: Guiao’s Samboy Lim Bill now a law

It was said that no one among the people around Samboy at the time knew how to give CPR.

CPR, as explained by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is an “emergency procedure that can help save a person’s life if their breathing or heart stops.”

This, as CPR “uses chest compressions to mimic how the heart pumps” and “these help keep blood flowing throughout the body,” pointing out that when a person’s heart stops beating, they are in cardiac arrest.”

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When in cardiac arrest, “the heart cannot pump blood to the rest of the body, including the brain and lungs,” the US CDC said in the article “Three Things You May Not Know About CPR.”

But while CPR after cardiac arrest can keep blood flowing to the heart and brain for a time, often, only the use of automated external defibrillators (AED) can restore the heart’s rhythm, the US-based Mayo Clinic said.

“Together these treatments can improve the chances of survival,” US CDC said.


Least expected attacks

As the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said, ischaemic heart disease, which can lead to a heart attack that increases the risk of a cardiac arrest, has been the leading cause of death in the Philippines, claiming thousands of lives every year.


GRAPHIC: Ed Lustan

Based on PSA data, there were 65,378 deaths because of ischaemic heart disease in 2013, 65,551 in 2014, 68,572 in 2015, 74,134 in 2016, 84,120 in 2017, 88,433 in 2018, 97,475 in 2019, 105,281 in 2020, 155,775 in 2021, and 119,966 in 2022.

READ: PSA: Heart diseases continue to lead major causes of death in PH

However, half of all the deaths from heart diseases, the PHA said, happens as sudden cardiac arrest, which has been described by the Mayo Clinic as the sudden loss of all heart activity because of irregular rhythm.

The PHA said the condition “contributes to significant mortality in the adult population, with major and catastrophic psychological and emotional effects on the family,” especially since it often comes when least expected.


GRAPHIC: Ed Lustan

“Like a thief in the night, it strikes without warning, leaving relatives of victims with tremendous psychological and emotional burden […] It can happen to anyone, anywhere,” PHA said.

It may strike people with no history of cardiac disease or symptoms, too.

PHA said the most common setting is when the heart goes into a sudden fatal arrhythmia called ventricular fibrillation, wherein the heart goes into a very rapid and chaotic rhythm, causing the normal rhythmic contractions to stop.

Within seconds, the brain is depleted of oxygen and the person loses consciousness, and without immediate treatment, sudden cardiac arrest can lead to death.

CPR saves lives

It was stated by the PHA that based on data from the American Heart Association (AHA), 80 percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen at home and are witnessed by a member of the household.

READ: Thousands die of cardiac arrest because witnesses do not know CPR, say doctors

However, in the Philippines, only four to six percent of cases led to survival because most of those who witnessed the sudden cardiac arrest did not know CPR, especially how to give it to the patient.

RELATED STORY: Senator Angara wants CPR training as graduation requirement

This, as the condition is a health problem associated with low survival rate and long-term severe impairment because of delays in CPR and treatment, PHA said in its article “Sudden Cardiac Arrest and the Value of CPR.”


GRAPHIC: Ed Lustan

It said when someone has a sudden cardiac arrest, his or her survival depends greatly on immediately getting CPR, which must begin within four to six minutes and advanced life support measures must begin within eight minutes to avoid brain death.

The PHA said each minute of delay in CPR decreases the chances of survival by almost 10 percent, but if performed immediately, CPR can double or triple the chance of survival from an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

Back in 2021, PHA stressed that at least 70 percent of every barangay and one member of a household must know how to give CPR “to increase the chance of survival of a patient by 30 percent.”

CPR, a simple life-saving technique, consists of repetitive chest compressions and mouth to mouth breathing, which forms a vital link in the emergency management during an episode of cardiac arrest.

How to give a CPR

GRAPHIC: Ed Lustan

“It […] improves survival and contributes to preservation of heart and brain functions,” PHA said.

According to data shared by PHA at an online seminar on Monday (July 17), as of March 2020, it has already provided CPR training to 1.25 million people all over the Philippines since 2016.

Provide AEDs

But the PHA said each barangay must have an AED, too.

AED is the highlight of this year’s celebration of the National Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Day with the theme “ ZapPinas: AED sa Pamayanan, Dugtong Buhay ‘Yan.”

As stressed by PHA, Congress should pass an AED law to have the device, which is used to help those experiencing sudden cardiac arrest, deployed in strategic and public places.

AHA said an AED is a lightweight, portable device. It delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart when it detects an abnormal rhythm and changes the rhythm back to normal.

It said CPR combined with AED use provide the best chance of saving a life.

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“If an AED is near someone having ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia, a bystander in a public place or a family member can use it to jolt the heart back to a regular rhythm. Using the AED could possibly save a life,” it said.

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TAGS: AED, cardiac arrest, CPR, INQFocus, National CPR Day, Philippine Heart Association

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