A defibrillator saved Eriksen’s life – Do YOU know where to find your nearest defibrillator?
Don’t let the one you love be the one you lose…
When footballer Christian Eriksen suffered a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) on the pitch during Denmark’s opening Euro 2020 match, the world watched in shock. It didn’t take a miracle to save Eriksen – just a small piece of equipment (automated external defibrillator – AED). It was luck! Luck that he was in the right place at the right time with an AED just minutes away.
Since his SCA, Eriksen has continued to recover in hospital and has now been fitted with an ICD (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator) which will be able to shock his heart if it goes into a fatal arrhythmia (heart rhythm disorder) again. His very own internal AED.
For 250 people in the UK who suffered a cardiac arrest on Saturday, they were not so lucky. Neither were the 250 people each and every day who have lost their lives since then, due to SCA. If Eriksen had been at home, on the team bus or even in the car park, he may not have been so lucky, and we would be mourning the loss of a great sportsman.
Unlike a heart attack, when a sudden cardiac arrest occurs every minute counts with immediate access to CPR and an AED being vitally important. CPR alone provides 9% chance of survival; CPR and the use of an AED increases the chance of surviving a sudden cardiac arrest to over 70%. Sadly, not everyone has access to an AED and this needs to change. When a potentially fatal heart rhythm occurs it is only by shocking the heart back into a normal rhythm within the first few minutes that the person has a chance of survival. Only an AED can deliver the appropriate shock.
In the UK, more than 100,000 people die each year from sudden cardiac death — that is more than breast cancer, lung cancer, and AIDS combined.
The charity Arrhythmia Alliance, which raises awareness of arrhythmias (heart rhythm disorders) and sudden cardiac arrest, has long campaigned for this life-saving equipment to be easily accessible in all public places and communities, highlighting that they should be as commonplace as smoke alarms and fire extinguishers. After all, fire extinguishers and smoke alarms are required by law – this needs to be the same for AEDs so that we all have access to an AED within three minutes of suffering a sudden cardiac arrest. For every minute that passes your chance of survival decreases by 10% - it is vital to have quick access to an AED.
Ambassador for Arrhythmia Alliance, Fabrice Muamba, who also suffered a sudden cardiac arrest on the football pitch and survived thanks to an AED, said: “No one realises how important a defibrillator is until they are in a situation where they need one - the difference of having one could be life or death. I was extremely fortunate to be surrounded by the best medics with the right equipment when I suffered my cardiac arrest, but I know that others are not as lucky because they don’t have access to a defibrillator quickly enough. So, I back all calls for legislation to make this life saving equipment a legal requirement for schools, workplaces and publicly accessible venues in the same way fire extinguishers are.”
Professional golfer, former Ryder Cup Captain Bernard Gallacher, and current PGA Captain and Arrhythmia Alliance Ambassador, who survived a sudden cardiac arrest in 2013, said: “It is great to see Eriksen continue to recover after his sudden cardiac arrest, thanks to the quick response of those around him. But it is also important to remember those who also suffered a sudden cardiac arrest that day, weren’t so fortunate and tragically lost their lives. I too am very lucky that my life was saved thanks to quick actions and the use of an AED when I collapsed and suffered SCA, without any warning. Without quick access to a defibrillator, many lives will continue to be lost. It is vitally important that we push for AEDs to become mandatory in public places.”
Claire Page, a mother who tragically lost her 5-year-old daughter Lilly-May, after not having access to an AED, said: “I have been fighting for the last seven years since the tragic and sudden death of my daughter Lilly-May who collapsed as I collected her from school. The events over the weekend have reminded me how if there had been a defibrillator at the school, my princess would still be alive today! Defibrillators must be accessible; awareness needs to keep being shouted about! People need training on basic life support. I also feel we should be given the choice to have heart screening. Thousands watched Eriksen collapse on the pitch on Saturday, thousands shocked at what they were seeing! What I saw that day was the same, but it was my 5-year-old daughter! “
Founder and CEO of Arrhythmia Alliance, Mrs Trudie Lobban MBE, who lost her husband to sudden cardiac death, says: “Look around you right now, do you know where your nearest defibrillator is? If the person next to you suffered a sudden cardiac arrest, would you be able to quickly find your nearest AED? If it was you, are you confident someone would know about an AED to save your life? If the answer is no, now is the time to act and Arrhythmia Alliance are here to help. Remember SCA strikes anyone at any time and of any age – it could be you or a loved one. Please don’t let the one you love be the one you lose to SCA.”
Arrhythmia Alliance raises awareness of the importance of defibrillators and provides information, education, and support on placing an AED in local communities, shops, offices, schools, sports centres etc. Anyone can use an AED – the machine speaks to you telling you exactly what to do and it only shocks the person if their heart is in a potentially fatal heart rhythm. You cannot harm anyone when using the AED. For more information visit: https://www.heartrhythmalliance.org/aa/uk/defibs-save-lives
Contact Arrhythmia Alliance today for more information on the signs and symptoms of Sudden Cardiac Arrest and how you can ensure an AED is nearby. It could save a life – it might be yours.
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