The highest incidence of OHCA is at home, with 3 cases of young OHCA occurring at home every week.
Be a brave first responder and save your loved ones' lives.
HONG KONG, Dec. 1, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- SADS HK Foundation (SADS HK) has commissioned the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) to conduct research on the "Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest (OHCA) Survival Rate for Individuals Aged 40 or Below", in collaboration with the Hong Kong Fire Services Department. Based on nearly 30,000 OHCA cases from January 2020 to May 2023, the research team analyzed the incidence, locations, and public utilization of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) for individuals aged 40 or below. The aim is to comprehensively identify factors that can improve the survival rate of this specific group, contributing to the formulation of relevant public cardiac health strategies in Hong Kong.
3 cases of young OHCA occurring at home every week
The PolyU research team analyzed 29,985 OHCA cases in Hong Kong from January 2020 to May 2023 and found 1,395 cases of OHCA in individuals aged 40 or below. Dr. Richard Xu, Assistant Professor of the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences of PolyU, stated, "The study found that OHCA cases in individuals aged 40 or below accounted for 4.65% of the total, which reflected an increase in this group compared to similar studies conducted between 2017 and 2020."
It was generally believed that OHCA cases mostly occurred in public places, such as sports grounds. However, Prof. Amy Fu, Peter Hung Professor in Pain Management, Associate Head and Professor of the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences of PolyU, stated, "The study found that nearly half of the young OHCA cases occur at home, with an average of 3 cases every week." Prof. Amy Fu added, "Among these cases, the survival rate of those admitted to the hospital and aged 40 or below was only 9.3%, with less than 40% of them receiving CPR before admission, and less than 10% receiving AED." There is only a short time window to save OHCA individuals, and the survival rate significantly decreases with time.
Improving AED availability and encouraging public participation in Cardiac Arrest First Aid
Performing CPR or delivering an AED shock to individuals experiencing OHCA can significantly increase the overall success rate of cardiac arrest resuscitation. However, according to a subsequent survey conducted by the research team, about 70% of respondents who had completed CPR and AED training were not necessarily inclined to perform AED first aid in emergency situations. The main reason cited was the perceived shortage of AED. Increasing the number of AED and enhancing public awareness and knowledge of AED locations would be able to encourage citizens to engage in AED first aid.
Three essential points to improve survival rates
Dr. Siu Yuet-chung, Axel, Specialist in Emergency Medicine and Advisory Member of SADS HK, expressed concern about the limited public awareness of CPR and AED in Hong Kong compared to other developed countries or regions. For example, in Shenzhen, the ratio of AED to the population is 1 : 405, while in Hong Kong, the ratio is only 1 : 1,498, which is significantly lower than that of Shenzhen. After an OHCA occurs, the golden window for saving a's life is only five minutes. For every minute of delay in receiving treatment, the survival rate decreases by 7-10%. Immediate first aid is crucial for improving survival rates.
To enhance OHCA survival rates, Dr. Siu proposed three essential recommendations. First, he suggested popularizing and diversifying cardiac arrest first aid education, extending the training to primary schools to cultivate public awareness of first aid from an early age, and moving towards universal first aid proficiency. Second, he recommended increasing access to AED for those in need, emphasizing the acquisition of AED in residential areas. Third, he advocated for the integration of technology to enhance the chances of patient recovery, encouraging the use of innovative technologies and big data to assist the public in performing first aid.
Additionally, Dr. Siu encouraged institutions and residential complexes with installed AED to participate in the "AED Anywhere for Anyone" Programme initiated by the Hong Kong Fire Services Department. This programme ensures that citizens can easily find the locations of publicly accessible AED across Hong Kong.
SADS patient calls for early diagnosis to prevent OHCA
Yin, a Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndromes (SADS) patient who has experienced OHCA, shared her story: "I was going to work as usual. While I was about to answer a phone call from my colleague, I suddenly collapsed and lost consciousness." At that time, Yin was unaware that she was a "Long QT Syndrome" patient, a particular type of SADS. Unaware of her SADS condition, she took medication that triggered the arrhythmia problem, leading to cardiac arrest. Now, she knows to avoid using drugs that prolong the QT interval and refers to the "drug to avoid list" provided on the SADS HK's website.
During her hospital stay, Yin experienced numerous critical situations throughout the day, such as over 20 times of cardiac arrests. Fortunately, she was resuscitated with the use of AED shocks. She said, "I can't imagine if these 20 incidents had occurred at home without anyone using an AED on me. I might not be sitting here today sharing my story with everyone." She hopes that the public will be aware of the locations of AED in residential areas and communities, and encourages CPR and AED training to provide an additional layer of protection for the people around them.
Since SADS is a genetic issue, Yin expressed concern about her family's situation. "Some of my family members have been diagnosed with SADS condition, but luckily with low risk. It relieved my worries." She hopes that the public will not hesitate to seek medical advice. If they discover that their family members have SADS, they should undergo early diagnosis and understand their own conditions to prevent OHCA from occurring.
SADS HK Foundation promotes understanding of cardiac warning signs
There are many causes of OHCA, and sudden cardiac death can occur in seemingly healthy young individuals who have not been diagnosed, with Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndromes (SADS) as one possible cause. Prevention is better than cure. SADS HK has established the "SADS Clinical Subsidy" program and the "SADS Genetic Testing Subsidy" program to provide subsidies for immediate family members of patients who have suffered sudden cardiac death due to SADS or unknown causes. They can undergo their first specialized cardiology clinical examination and genetic testing related to SADS, encouraging early testing for family members to reduce cases of sudden death due to SADS. SADS HK urges the public to pay attention to cardiac warning signs and understand their family medical history. If they experience any cardiac warning signs, seeking prompt assistance from a specialized cardiologist can reduce the risk.