CPR assistance rate doubled over 2 years: Prof

More Singaporeans are putting their cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training to use.

The proportion of cardiac arrest victims receiving bystander CPR assistance has doubled from 20 to 40 per cent over the last two years, according to Associate Professor Marcus Ong, medical director of the Ministry of Health's Unit for Pre- hospital Emergency Care (Upec). He did not give figures.

Prof Ong was speaking at a school symposium on cardiac arrest readiness at the Singapore General Hospital yesterday, where he and CPR experts from Japan addressed some 160 teachers and students.

Singapore has a 3 per cent cardiac arrest survival rate, compared to Japan's 20 per cent. Incidents in schools there have a near 50 per cent survival rate.

Professor Hideharu Tanaka of Tokyo's Kokushikan University said the difference lies in preparation and training. All Japanese schools have automated external defibrillators (AEDs) installed, and teachers receive CPR training annually.

CPR training is also a part of the school curriculum in Japan.

"Teaching children when they are young is the most effective," said Prof Tanaka.

In Singapore, AEDs have been installed in all schools and Upec has trained more than 13,000 students and teachers from 44 schools in simplified CPR since the Dispatcher Assisted first Responder, or Dare, programme was introduced last year.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force launched the myResponder mobile app in April. It calls nearby volunteers to suspected heart attack cases until emergency services arrive and lists nearby AEDs.

According to Prof Ong, there have been over 1,000 downloads of the app, and 200 volunteer activations. "Eighty to 90 per cent of cardiac arrests happen to someone you know," he said. "So getting trained in CPR can help save a loved one."

This article was first published on Sept 2, 2015.
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