St John-220708-154

WA bystanders outperform global trend in giving lifesaving first aid

Press Release
  • People experiencing cardiac arrest in Western Australia are more likely to receive bystander first aid than those in North America, new figures suggest,
  • In WA, 95 per cent of women and 93 per cent of men who experienced out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in a public location received bystander CPR in the past five years,
  • This is higher than a five-year North American study released during September which showed just 61 per cent of women and 68 per cent men receive bystander CPR in similar circumstances.

Global research showing as few as 61 per cent of women who experience out-of-hospital (OHCA) cardiac arrest in a public place receive potentially lifesaving first aid from bystanders is not supported by WA figures, suggesting local bystanders are more likely to render assistance.

Results from a five-year North American study was presented at the European Emergency Medicine Congress in September found:

  • Just 54 per cent of OHCA patients received CPR from a bystander,
  • Women were slightly less likely to be given CPR – 52 per cent of women compared to 55 per cent of men,
  • For OHCA in a public place, the gender gap was greater with 61 per cent of women compared to 68 per cent of men receiving CPR.

The findings made headlines globally when presented by Dr Sylvie Cossette, a PhD nurse researcher at the Montreal Heart Institute research center, Canada.

Dr Cournoyer was reported saying the research was carried out to uncover factors which might discourage people from delivering CPR – particularly to women.

“In an emergency when someone is unconscious and not breathing properly, in addition to calling an ambulance, bystanders should give CPR. This will give the patient a much better chance of survival and recovery.”

 “Our study shows that women experiencing a cardiac arrest are less likely to get the CPR they need compared to men, especially if the emergency happens in public… We don’t know why this is the case.

“It could be that people are worried about hurting or touching women, or that they think a woman is less likely to be having a cardiac arrest.”

Curtin University’s Prehospital, Resuscitation and Emergency Care Research Unit (PRECRU) crunched the numbers of out of hospital cardiac arrests in patients older than 16 over the past five years, it was good news for WA.

Across all location types (public, private, nursing homes, and other locations), the percentage of cases receiving bystander CPR was 68 per cent for women and 76 per cent for men.

For OHCA in public locations, the percentage of cases receiving bystander CPR was 95 per cent for women and 93 per cent for men.

PRECRU is a collaboration between Curtin University and St John WA.

St John WA Chief Preventative Officer Megs O’Donnell said the WA performance was the result of range of factors – not least the effort put in by St John WA to ensure Western Australians have the time, tools and knowledge to potentially save a life.

“Everyone who calls Triple Zero (000) for an OHCA will be supported to deliver CPR by St John WA’s experienced call-takers, but there is more to the story,” Ms O’Donnell said.

“In Western Australia we also have more than 44,000 people who are registered on the First Responder App who can be called upon by the State Operations Centre to render assistance if they are located close to an incident in a public place.

“In addition, there are 7702 Automated External Defibrillator locations registered with St John WA which can be deployed by members of the public in event of OHCA. This is important because the first few minutes after cardiac arrest are the most critical. Early intervention in the minutes before an ambulance arrives can make all the difference.”

Remember to CALL. PUSH. SHOCK to save a life.

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