Bill will help save more lives, says IHF

Meath Chronicle

Saturday 29th June 2013

The Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) has welcomed unanimous Seanad support for a new Private Members Bill that will help to save more lives from sudden cardiac death.

The Bill wil require premises with high public footfall to install and maintain automated external defibrillators (AEDs) for public use and provide training to persons on the premises. The new Public Health (Availability of Defibrillators) Bill 2013 is sponsored by Independent Senator Fergal Quinn.

According to the national charity fighting heart disease and stroke, about 5,000 people die from sudden cardiac death in Ireland annually and, of these deaths, seven out of 10 happen outside of hospital and often in the presence of a bystander.

CPR training is a major priority for the Irish Heart Foundation which oversees the largest certified resuscitation training programme in Ireland, training 60,000 people each year by some 2,000 instructors at 190 affiliated training sites.

Founded in 1995, the IHF resuscitation programme has helped to produce a survival rate of 6.5 per cent when resuscitation is attempted.  The latest available research from Ireland's National Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Register showed that 133 lives were saved out of 2,033 patients for whom data was available, over a four year period to the end of 2011.

Chris Macey, head of advocacy with the Irish Heart Foundation, said: "We believe that legislating to provide more automated external defibrillators (AEDs) is a vital pre-requisite to increasing the life-saving role of bystander CPR.  But this can only be maximised with proper regulation to ensure adequate ongoing training in CPR and how to use an AED is provided as well." International comparisons showed that higher survival rates can be achieved, particuarly when the equipment and training are in place to ensure early recognition, early CPR and early defibrillation.