Singapore bystander CPR rate 'extremely low'

SINGAPORE - Wedneday's report ("Motorcyclist, 38, dies in Braddell Road accident") about a 19-year-old student who performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on a road accident victim clearly demonstrates that people are prepared to help others in need and try to save lives.

The student's actions should be highly commended.

Providing bystander first aid in the form of CPR, using an automated external defibrillator (AED) and trying to stem external bleeding are all forms of positive action meant to save lives.

These may not always result in lives saved, but people in cardiac arrest who get prompt bystander CPR are two to three times more likely to survive than those who do not receive such help.

Learning CPR gives us that vital basic skill to help us save lives.

The bystander CPR rate in Singapore is extremely low at about 20 per cent. Therefore, 80 per cent of people who collapse do not receive any form of life-saving first aid until the arrival of emergency ambulance crew.

The chances of survival for cardiac arrest victims decrease by about 7 per cent to 10 per cent for every minute of delay in applying life-saving first aid, such as CPR or using an AED.

Our community is the first line of defence against unnecessary deaths.

The public can help save lives by doing the following:

Call 995 immediately in the case of an emergency, such as cardiac arrest;

Start CPR immediately. Learn CPR and AED use from any of the more than 40 accredited training centres in Singapore. A list of these centres can be found at

Call for an AED and if one is brought to the scene, apply it to the casualty by following the instructions that come with the device.

The way forward for increasing the survival rate of cardiac arrest patients is for us to learn how to do CPR and use an AED, and employ these skills promptly when the need arises.

We need more public-spirited citizens like the student.

V. Anantharaman (Professor)
National Resuscitation Council Singapore

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