Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month

02 October 2023
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October is Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month

by Heart Saver NZ

October is Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month, aimed at raising awareness and understanding of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). It's a good time to sharpen your knowledge and learn how to effectively respond in an SCA emergency.

Raising Awareness

In New Zealand, we have approximately 2,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests each year (Hato Hone St John OHCA National Report 2021/2022). We hear of many inspiring "saves" facilitated by AEDs. The image below highlights a few from Heart Saver customers over the past year. In many cases, these life-saving devices were used by community members, including neighbours, passers-by, or event attendees.

While we celebrate these saves, it's also important to acknowledge the stark reality: only 4% of cardiac arrest patients received defibrillation by a community responder last year. Our communities, especially rural areas, need more AEDs. It's a common misconception that SCA exclusively affects the elderly or unhealthy; in truth, it can strike people of all ages and fitness levels, including children.

Recent Saves

Only 4% of cardiac arrest patients received defibrillation by a community responder last year.

Recognising a Sudden Cardiac Arrest

You boost survival odds when you can spot the signs. Knowing the difference between cardiac arrest and a heart attack is crucial. In cases where an individual is unresponsive and not breathing normally, assume it is SCA.

SCA Spot The Difference

Effective Response

Call 111, initiate CPR, and use an AED if available. Many individuals hesitate to use an AED because they're concerned about the possibility of causing harm. If you're unsure, attach the AED pads to the patient, turn on the device, and let it assess the heart rhythm. It will provide clear instructions. Rest assured, AEDs are designed to administer a shock only when necessary, based on a detectable arrhythmic condition. SCA Awareness ImagesForBlogPost 02

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Be Prepared

If you don't have an AED, consider investing in one for your company, community, or sports club. For optimal chances of survival, an AED should be within a 4-minute round trip. This is especially important in rural areas, where cardiac arrest survival rates are 45% lower than in urban settings. Here are a few things you can do to be prepared:

Know where AEDs are in your community: Visit the AED Locations website.

Consider getting an AED for your community:  Take advantage of our special offer this month on our Heart Saver AED7000. It’s our top-selling AED with over 6,000 units already in circulation and comes with everything you need to save a life. Use code SCA23 at checkout to receive S200 off (only until October 31, 2023).

Learn CPR:  Think about setting up an AED/CPR training session for you, your family, your staff or your community organisation.

Let's work together to make our communities safer and better prepared this Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month.

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