Four out of ten Spaniards (44%) do not know what a sudden cardiac arrest is, and only 26.8% would know how to act in a situation of this type, although more than half of the population (59%) knows what are the semiautomatic defibrillators, according to the results of a survey of the Spanish Council of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CERCP).

This study, which collects data from more than 1,000 surveys, shows that, despite the fact that in Spain every year more than 24,000 cardiorespiratory stops, "the level of knowledge of the population about these diseases can be improved," according to Dr. Juan López Messa, president of CERCP, who adds that "there are those who do not know what a cardiac arrest is, but a defibrillator."

In any case, the percentage of the population that knows how to perform a basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation (33%) and knows the importance of survival chains in these cases (15%) is equally low, so it is necessary to publicize both the frequency of these ailments, as the means that exist to treat them. Especially considering that only one in 20 people survives a sudden cardiac arrest when it occurs outside the hospital, and that every minute of delay in performing a basic resuscitation reduces the chances of survival by 10%.

In this sense, and given that up to one in four cardiac arrests occur in public places, the CERCP and the Gaspar Casal Foundation have presented a consensus document in which they ask the Ministry of Health to coordinate the implementation of this type of device. to be "uniform and common sense" in all communities.

Defibrillators by law

Both entities propose that there be a national law that determines the places where their presence is mandatory, since the experience of other countries such as Japan, the United States, Sweden or Denmark has shown that the implantation of defibrillators "entails a relevant improvement" of the survival in these events.

"Deaths due to cardiac arrest in sports have had a very great impact and have favored the implantation of defibrillators in stadiums, but footballers should not be the only ones who are protected," said Dr. López Messa.

In addition to stadiums and sports facilities, they propose that there be defibrillators in airports, train, bus and metro stations, and in shopping centers. Although many of these places already have these devices, the data handled by manufacturers show that there are only between 3,000 and 5,000 defibrillators installed in public places, while in Japan there are more than 90,000.

"You have to change the concept of a defibrillator and stop considering it a medical device," Dr. López Messa insists, especially because "it is not more complex to use than that of an extinguisher." However, laments this expert, the ignorance of its operation or the "fear of doing more damage" to the person affected by cardiac arrest limits its use. Therefore, to improve the knowledge of the Spanish population about what is a cardiac arrest and how to act against it, experts believe that it would be very positive to facilitate and integrate knowledge about the chain of survival and cardiopulmonary resuscitation in compulsory education.


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