NHS chief to build 'Eriksen's CPR army' to teach people to save cardiac arrest victims

THE NHS chief is building a "CPR Army" to teach people how to save lives after Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch in cardiac arrest.

Professor Stephen Powis has announced a new project to deliver CPR training and teach everyone how to use defibrillators.


Skills like this could save a life – as proved when medics rushed to the footballer's aid on Saturday and gave him urgent treatment.

Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest during Denmark’s Euro 2020 game against Finland on June 12.

He collapsed as he was about to receive a throw-in to the shock of millions of viewers.

The football star is now due to be fitted with an ICD heart-starter device in an operation.

With only one in three people in England giving CPR when they witness someone going into cardiac arrest, Professor Powis thinks thousands more lives could be saved if more people knew what to do.  

He said: "Since Eriksen’s collapse at the weekend, we have also seen kind hearted Brits sharing information online on how to do CPR and save a life.

"Today, I’m calling on them to go one step further and train to teach CPR as we know this will mean more lives like Christian Eriksen’s will be saved.

“If more people had the confidence and skills to call 999 quickly, deliver effective CPR until the ambulance crew arrive, and use a public access defibrillator, the number of lives saved would double.

“We saw a massive rush in willing volunteers to help lifesaving activity during the pandemic and we hope that even more people will be inspired to join our Eriksen’s Army, learn CPR and become lifesavers.”

Symptoms of cardiac arrest:

Cardiac arrest isn't the same as heart attack. 

It's when the heart stops beating suddenly and you can die if you don't receive medical assistance within minutes. According to the BHF, 100,000 people are killed by it every year in the UK.

Most of the time, sudden cardiac arrest happens without any warning at all – it comes on so quickly.

Heart attack, on the other hand, is where blood flow to the heart is partially blocked.

If someone is in cardiac arrest:

  • they won't be conscious
  • they won't be responsive
  • they won't be breathing or breathing normally

Heart attacks, however, do come with a number of common signs, including:

  • pressure, pain, or tightness in the chest or arms
  • nausea
  • cold sweat
  • fatigue
  • sudden dizziness

Alongside St John Ambulance the NHS is prepped to deliver a programme encouraging everyone to learn CPR and how to use defibrillators.

The health and first aid charity recently trained 27,000 vaccination volunteers in these lifesaving skills and will seek to train an additional 60,000 people as part of this new programme.

Managing Director of the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE) Martin Flaherty OBE, QAM said: "When somebody goes into sudden cardiac arrest their chance of survival can be significantly improved by those who are around them taking immediate action to try to save their life.

"This may be a family member or a stranger, but either way, if that person starts to administer chest compressions, known as CPR, then the patient has a much better chance of survival.

St John Ambulance head of community response, Adam Williams, said: “We know from people’s response to our new ‘Ask Me’ campaign, that people are hungry for first aid training.

"Following Eriksen’s collapse on Saturday night we’ve seen a 1,000 per cent increase in calls asking for CPR training.

"In addition, searches for CPR advice are up 565 per cent and defibrillator guides up 1,900 per cent.”

About 90 per cent of people who suffer a cardiac arrest outside of hospital die because they're not given the proper assistance the moment it happens.

Brain tissue starts to die within three minutes after the heart stops, due to a lack of oxygen.

Early CPR can more than double a person’s chances of survival, and can buy the time needed before paramedics arrive and provide care.

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