More Victorians Saving Lives Than Ever Before

16 January 2019

More Victorians are surviving cardiac arrest than ever before as public defibrillator units become more readily available and more community members feel prepared and confident enough to use them.

The Andrews Labor Government today released the Victorian Ambulance Cardiac Arrest Registry (VACAR) which showed 82 people were defibrillated with a publicly-accessible defibrillator in the 2017/18 financial year – two more than the previous year and the most on record.

Paramedics attended 6434 OHCA events in 2017/18 – 400 more than in 2016/17 and the most ever recorded.

Typically, fewer than 10 per cent of cardiac arrest patients survive but when cardiopulmonary resuscitation and defibrillation are applied quickly, the outcomes are much more positive.

In 2017/18 32 per cent of all cardiac arrest patients that received defibrillation survived, but this increased significantly when a publicly-accessible defibrillator was used.

72 per cent of patients shocked with a public defibrillator survived the event and 64 per cent were discharged from hospital, which was higher than the previous year’s numbers (65 per cent and 45 per cent respectively).

The figures demonstrate the benefit of having automated defibrillator equipment available in the community and the growing number of Victorians who are willing to use it.

Over the past decade, rates of bystander CPR in the community have steadily risen and the chances of cardiac arrest patients surviving to hospital discharge have more than doubled.

This has been backed up by improved response times by Victoria’s paramedics who are reaching cardiac arrest cases faster than ever before, with a state-wide median response of 7.6 minutes.

In May last year Ambulance Victoria also launched GoodSAM – an app that has already saved lives by sending an electronic call for help to off-duty first responders when people nearby are in cardiac arrest.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos

“When it comes to cardiac arrest, every second counts. That’s why it gives me great pride to know that so many Victorians are rushing to the aid of fellow citizens.”

“We can all play a role in saving lives until paramedics arrive. By knowing what needs to be done when an emergency strikes, you can potentially be the difference between life and death.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula

“Since 2016, we’ve provided more than 1400 defibrillators to sports clubs across Victoria, which is 400 more than our initial commitment, because we know that they save lives.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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