“It must become a moral obligation and a social expectation that bystanders will perform CPR when they witness cardiac arrest,” said a declaration from the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians. The CAEP is the Canadian national voice in emergency medicine, and develops standards and guidelines in this field.
The CAEP called on governments to implement mandatory CPR education in high school, insisting that the process should be a pre-requisite for graduation.
Companies that offer CPR education and Canadians that sign up for training should receive a 100 per cent tax rebate to cover the expense, the report also suggested.
In Canada, more than 20,000 people suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests each year for which some kind of resuscitation is attempted. About 85 per cent of cases occur in homes. Currently, less than 10 per cent of these people survive.
Sudden heart failure occurs outside of the hospital in more than 60 per cent of all cases, and 50 per cent of those incidents are witnessed by bystanders, the CAEP statement noted.
Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims are three to four times more likely to survive if they receive CPR from a bystander, but this kind of help happens in just one of out of every four cases, the CAEP says.
About 60 per cent of Canadians have been trained at least once at CPR, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada estimates.
“Unfortunately, CPR skills are often not practised and kept up-to-date, leading to hesitation and inaction when faced with a cardiac arrest situation,” CAEP wrote.