DEATH IN 10 MINUTES

Malls to stock devices for resuscitating cardiac arrest victims

If someone suffers sudden cardiac arrest, they die within 10 minutes if they are not resuscitated.

In Summary

• A person’s best chance of survival in the case of a cardiac arrest is to receive a defibrillator shock using an AED within five minutes of collapse with chances of survival reducing by 10 per cent every minute.

• If the machine is not readily available, those around can also revive the victim by pressing on their chest and breathing into their mouth. 

Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki at one of Red Cross Ambulances in Nairobi recently.
Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki at one of Red Cross Ambulances in Nairobi recently.

Shopping malls and other public places in Nairobi and Eldoret will be fitted with portable devices to resuscitate people who collapse after sudden cardiac arrest.

One is said to have a cardiac arrest when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood around the body, usually due to a problem with the heart’s electrical signals.

The person stops breathing, then loses consciousness and dies within 10 minutes of they are not resuscitated.

 

The Kenya Red Cross Society said they will install the Automated Electrical Defibrillators in select places this year, in collaboration with the manufacturer Philips through its Philips Foundation.

The project is part of the Philips Back To Rhythm Campaign that has been creating public awareness around cardiac health in Kenya since 2017.

“At least 80 per cent of cardiac arrests happen in public places, so we are also using this chance to educate people what to do in case this happens,” said Dr Asha Mohammed, the deputy secretary general of the Kenya Red Cross Society.

She spoke in Nairobi yesterday when the two partners announced a 314km cycling trial from Nairobi to Eldoret, set for next week.

Philips said it will donate the 25 AEDs that will be installed in public places. 

A Philips Heartstart defibrillator.
A Philips Heartstart defibrillator.

A person’s best chance of survival in the case of a cardiac arrest is to receive a defibrillator shock using an AED within five minutes of collapse with chances of survival reducing by 10 per cent every minute.

If the machine is not readily available, those around can also revive the victim by pressing on their chest and breathing into their mouth. 

 

“Access to a defibrillator is key. (Footballer) Fabrice Mwamba had access to one when he suffered a SCA and survived. But Papa Wemba did not have access to a defibrillator and that’s why he died,” said Dr Mohamed Jeilan, the director of cardiac services, at Aga Khan University Hospital.

Since the Back to Rhythm campaign began in 2017, Philips has donated 17 AEDs to the Kenya Red Cross, which have been placed in ambulances in Nairobi, Narok and Meru.

Dr Muthoni Ntonjira, the medical director of Red Cross's emergency service, said they successfully attended to 88 cases of sudden cardiac arrest between 2017-2019.

"In Kenya, it is estimated that 25 per cent of hospital admissions are due to cardiovascular diseases and 13 per cent of autopsies reveal cardiovascular diseases as the cause of death, representing the second-highest cause of death in Kenya," says the 2018 Kenya National Guidelines for Cardiovascular Diseases Management.