Christian Eriksen: Google searches for how to do CPR surge after it saved his life - here's how you can do it

Tottenham Hotspur's Christian Eriksen before the Premier League match at Vicarage Road, Watford.
Christian Eriksen's teammates formed a protective circle around him after he collapsed on Saturday. Credit: PA

People searching for 'how to perform CPR' spiked after footballer Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest during Denmark's Euro 2020 game with Finland on Saturday.

Google searches for 'how to do CPR' surged 45 fold at 6pm on Saturday after the footballer collapsed on the pitch.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) saw more than a 90% increase in traffic compared to previous weekend. It most popular pages were about cardiac arrests, how to perform CPR and defibrillators.

On Saturday, the heart charity's website appeared in 1,400% more Google searches than usual, as people searched for ‘CPR,’ ‘cardiac arrest’ and ‘defibrillator’.

On Sunday, the charity saw an even bigger rise, with a 2,000% increase in cardiac-related website traffic.

CPR can really improve someone's chances of survival following a cardiac arrest. Credit: Unsplash

What is CPR?

There are more than 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the UK each year, with a survival rate of less than 1 in 10.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a life-saving technique where a person presses down on a casualty's chest that improves someone's chances of surviving a cardiac arrest in a non-medical setting.

Chest compressions and rescue breaths take over the role of the heart and lungs, pumping blood and oxygen around their body. Rescue breathes are no longer recommended due to the current coronavirus outbreak.

Denmark's Christian Eriksen receives medical treatment on the pitch during the Euro game. Credit: AP

You should only perform CPR is someone is unconscious and not breathing, or not breathing normally. There is no need to check for a pulse.

Time is imperative. Every second counts – any delay can quickly reduce a person’s chance of survival.

The swift response from staff and players after Eriksen 29-year-old midfielder collapsed just before half time during his side’s match against Finland on Saturday has been thought to have played a large role in his recovery. Eriksen was treated on the pitch for about 20 minutes and reported to have received CPR for 13 minutes.

Denmark team doctor Morten Boesen told reporters on Sunday Eriksen "was gone" before "we did cardiac resuscitation".

The midfielder dropped to the ground at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen shortly before half-time, to the shock of fellow players and fans, and was treated on the pitch before being taken to hospital

The British Heart Foundation's guide to how to perform CPR:

Step 1: Shake and shout

Someone having a cardiac arrest will either not be breathing or they won’t be breathing normally. They also won’t be conscious.

If you come across someone who is unconscious, always check for danger and look for risks before you start helping.

Check for a response – gently shake the person’s shoulders and ask loudly 'are you alright?'

Shout for help – if someone is nearby, ask them to stay as you might need them. If you are alone, shout loudly to attract attention, but don't leave the person.

Step 2: Call 999

If the person is not breathing or not breathing normally:

  • ask someone to call 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance

  • ask someone for a public access defibrillator (PAD)

  • If there's no one around call 999 before starting compressions.

Step 3: Cover mouth and nose with cloth

  • If you're there's a risk of infection, lay a towel or a piece of clothing over the mouth and nose. Don't put your face close to theirs. 

  • If you're sure the person is breathing normally, then put them in the recovery position.

Step 4: Give chest compressions

Do not give rescue breaths at this time.

  • Kneel next to the person.

  • Place the heel of one hand in the centre of their chest. Place your other hand on top of the first. Interlock your fingers.

  • With straight arms, use the heel of your hand to push the breastbone down firmly and smoothly, so that the chest is pressed down between 5–6 cm, and release.

  • Do this at a rate of 100 to 120 chest compressions per minute – that’s around 2 per second.

Step 5:  Keep going

  • Keep going until professional help arrives and takes over, or the person starts to show signs of regaining consciousness, such as coughing, opening their eyes, speaking, or breathing normally.

  • If you’re feeling tired, and there’s someone nearby to help, instruct them to continue.

Former footballer Vinnie Jones demonstrates how to give CPR during the coronavirus pandemic

When and why to use a defibrillator

When a person has a cardiac arrest, a defibrillator can be used to shock the heart back into a normal rhythm.Defibrillators are simple and safe to use and are available to the public in busy locations like shopping centres, sports stadiums and train stations across the UK. In rural areas, some former telephone boxes have been converted into a defibrillator.

A former red telephone box which has been converted into a defibrillator in the village of Twemlow Green, Cheshire. Credit: PA

What is a cardiac arrest?

A cardiac arrest is caused by an electrical problem in the heart that stops the heart pumping blood around the body and to the brain.

If someone's heart is still beating but they are not breathing, this is called a repository arrest which, without CPR, will become a cardiac arrest.

A person having a heart attack is usually still conscious and breathing but, again, a cardiac arrest is likely to follow so a person suffering from chest pain or discomfort must seek medical treatment immediately.