Heart rhythm week – know the difference, make a difference

Posted on in Health improvement, Services

The cardiology department at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton is hosting an event as part of this year’s heart rhythm week to raise awareness and promote better understanding of heart rhythm disorders.

The event will take place in the hub at the hospital between  Monday 3 and Friday 7 June 2013, and will join hundreds of others across the country celebrating heart rhythm week and  promoting this year’s theme ‘know the difference,  make a difference’.

The national campaign – organised by Arrhythmia Alliance (A-A), the heart rhythm charity – will promote knowing the difference between sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) and a heart attack, and knowing the difference that first aid can make to the survival of a cardiac arrest victim.

The theme of the week is inspired by hearts and goals, the A-A campaign, fronted by Fabrice Muamba, to help reduce deaths from SCA, the UK’s biggest killer.

Arrhythmia Alliance is calling for everyone to take the hearts and goals challenge, to learn about the life-saving difference bystanders can make performing CPR and using a defibrillator when someone has a cardiac arrest.

Everyone is encouraged to take the hearts and goals challenge at www.heartsandgoals.org, and join the Friarage’s cardiology and resuscitation team at their event.

With at least one in four Britons developing a potentially fatal arrhythmia, the awareness week also seeks to highlight the devastating effects of heart rhythm disorders – such as SCA, atrial fibrillation, bradycardia and tachycardia.

Dr Andrew Turley, consultant cardiologist, is supporting this year’s campaign, he said:  “Sudden cardiac arrest is the commonest cause of death within the UK. For some of these patients it could be prevented by early resuscitation or insertion of an implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD).

“In our region we have one of the lowest implant rates within the UK, and the UK has the lowest implant rates within Europe. If you or you have a patient, with known Ischaemic heart disease or heart failure, have they been screened for an ICD, it could save their life? ”

To raise awareness the cardiology department and resuscitation team will be demonstrating basic life support (CPR) and automated cardiac defibrillators in the hub on Tuesday 4 June in the morning and Thursday 6 June in the afternoon during heart rhythm week.

Trudie Lobban MBE, founder and trustee of Arrhythmia Alliance, said: “Arrhythmia Alliance would like to thank the Friarage Hospital for supporting heart rhythm week and highlighting the difference that we all could make to a person’s survival following cardiac arrest.

“I encourage everyone to take the hearts and goals challenge to test their knowledge of sudden cardiac arrest and discover the life-saving difference they can make. By knowing the difference, you can make a difference.”

Bystander intervention with CPR and defibrillation with an AED (automated external defibrillator) can increase SCA survival from 5% to over 50%.  Average UK survival rates are only 7%, demonstrating just how much of a difference could be made if more of us were willing to intervene and able to react to those who collapse and stop breathing because of SCA.