More Victorians Saved From Cardiac Arrests

15 March 2017

More Victorians than ever are surviving cardiac arrest with paramedics arriving faster and more bystanders stepping in to save lives, latest data from the Victorian Ambulance Cardiac Registry annual report shows.

The 2015/16 report, released today, analyses data from all out-of-hospital cardiac arrests responded to by paramedics. It shows paramedics treated 5,899 patients suffering a life-threatening cardiac arrest in 2015/16.

Victoria has one of the highest rates of survival across Australia for cardiac arrest emergencies for people who have a viable heart rhythm – and this continues to improve. These figures compare favourably on an international level, with a higher cardiac arrest survival rate for Victoria than London.

Phone interviews with adult survivors showed that most survivors maintained their independence after their arrest. Of those who had worked before their arrest, 74 per cent had returned to work 12 months later.

State-wide ambulance response times to cardiac arrests have improved from eight minutes to 7.8 minutes, while response times in metro and rural areas have both improved to 7.4 minutes and 9.9 minutes respectively. This is a significant improvement compared to the previous Liberal Government.

There are also better rates of defibrillation and survival beyond hospital. The chance of survival to hospital discharge in 2015/16 was two times higher than in 2002/03. This increases to three times higher for patients presenting with a shockable rhythm.

More bystanders are now stepping in to help save lives before paramedics arrive, with the chance of surviving some cardiac arrests and leaving hospital alive almost doubling when bystanders use a public defibrillator.

The use of public defibrillators for cardiac arrests has soared four-fold from 2.8 per cent in 2006/07 to 11 per cent in 2015/16, leading to the proportion of cases where paramedics performed the first defibrillation falling from 91 per cent to 82 per cent. This is also facilitated by dual-dispatch of firefighter first responders with a defibrillator.

We’re rebuilding our ambulance system after four years of crisis and neglect under the Liberals. Our $500 million plan to improve response times – the biggest ever investment in ambulance services – will employ 450 more paramedics, buy new vehicles and build new ambulance stations across the state.

This record boost comes on top of the $144 million provided in the Victorian Budget 2016/17. We are also expanding the Emergency Medical Response Program to 35 CFA stations and providing $2.7 million to roll out 1,000 defibrillators to sport clubs and facilities across Victoria.

Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews

“More Victorians than ever before are surviving cardiac arrest with the best survival rates in 10 years.”

“Families can have peace of mind that paramedics are now responding faster to cardiac arrests and more bystanders are stepping up to give CPR and defibrillation. Together, this means more lives saved.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Ambulance Services Jill Hennessy

“When suffering a cardiac arrest – every second counts in the chain of survival.”

“We’re ensuring all Victorians can get the right emergency care, quickly, and when they need it, with the biggest ever investment in Victoria’s history to cut ambulance response times even further.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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