Ambulance service's CPR app sees huge spike in downloads

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An ambulance service's app which provides CPR guidance and locates the nearest defibrillator saw a 1,300% increase in downloads following Danish football star Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest at Euro 2020.

The 'Save A Life' app developed by South Central Ambulance Service, uses GPS navigation to locate the nearest automated external defibrillator (AED) as well as a list of others in the area and features videos and instructions.

The subject of CPR was thrust into the spotlight in June when Inter Milan ace Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch during his country’s clash with Finland and had immediate life-saving assistance from players and medics.

The boost in interest in the app comes after data at SCAS showed requests for training and information on how to perform CPR and use AEDs, were down 67% last year and 86.5% this year in the South Central region compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

Credit: ITV Channel Television

Nicola Dunbar, Head of Community Engagement and Training at SCAS said: “The interest we are now seeing in our materials is already addressing this, though, and is an example of the way Christian’s personal story is already making positive change. From having his own life saved, he will no doubt now save the lives of many others.

“This was a stark reminder of the instant and impromptu nature of cardiac arrest and highlighted the importance of quick thinking – the decisive interventions by all involved saved the player’s life."

Things to know about cardiac arrest

What is cardiac arrest?

Cardiac arrest is when your heart stops pumping blood, your brain is starved of oxygen. This causes you to fall unconscious and stop breathing. (Source: British Heart Foundation)

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What causes cardiac arrest?

A common cause of a cardiac arrest is a life-threatening abnormal heart rhythm called ventricular fibrillation (VF).

VF happens when the electrical activity of the heart becomes so chaotic that the heart stops pumping, Instead, it quivers or 'fibrillates'.

The main causes of cardiac arrest related to the heart are:

Some other causes of cardiac arrest include:

  • electrocution

  • a drug overdose

  • a severe haemorrhage (known as hypovolaemic shock) – losing a large amount of blood

  • hypoxia - caused by a severe drop in oxygen levels. 

(Source: British Heart Foundation)

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What do you do if someone is having a cardiac arrest?

If you're with someone who's having a cardiac arrest, call 999, start CPR and use a defibrillator if there’s one nearby. Follow instructions from the 999 operator until emergency services take over. (Source: British Heart Foundation)

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