The 5th-11th June 2017 marks Heart Rhythm Awareness week. The aim of this week is to spread awareness of irregular heartbeats (atrial fibrillation), by feeling your pulse and counting it. In doing this, the Arrhythmia Alliance are working to secure early diagnosis and improve outcomes for the many millions of people across the globe affected by arrhythmias (a problem with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat).

Heart rhythm problems are experienced by more than 2 million people a year in the UK (NHS statistic).

What is your pulse?

Your heartbeat, heart rate and heart rhythm is what makes your pulse. To find your pulse, you can feel it on your wrist (below your thumb), in the crease of your elbow, in your groin or behind your ear.

What is a ‘normal pulse’?

Between 60-100 beats per minute. A pulse can be lower or higher than this due to many factors, including stress and anxiety, caffeine, level of fitness, the type of medication you use, your age or any illnesses you may have, including heart conditions.

What causes an irregular heart rhythm?

Problems with the body’s electrical system can cause abnormal heart rhythms. These are called arrhythmias. During an arrhythmia, the heart can beat either too slow, too fast or with an irregular rhythm. Some arrhythmias can even cause the heart to stop pumping blood to the body. This type of arrhythmias is called a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).

The most common cause of SCA is an arrhythmia called Ventricular Fibrillation (VF). This is where the heart’s lower chamber ventricles don’t beat normally. Instead, they beat rapidly and irregularly. Another type of arrhythmia that can also lead to a Sudden Cardiac Arrest is Ventricular Tachycardia (VT). This is where the heart has a fast, regular beating of the ventricles that may only last for a short period of time, or it can last for much longer.

In people who have either of these arrhythmias, an electric shock from an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) can restore the heart’s normal rhythm. Doing Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on someone experiencing Sudden Cardiac Arrest can also improve their chances of survival. Defibrillation is the only effective treatment for cardiac arrests caused by VF or VT. Chances of successful defibrillation decline at a rate of about 10% with each minute of delay.

Studies show that a patient who is in VF and has an AED shock delivered within 3 minutes have a 74% survival rate.

As you can see from the above statistics and information, the use of an AED is an important step in improving a casualty’s chance of survival. At HSF Training Ltd we offer the Automated External Defibrillator Competent User course at your business premises for a maximum of 6 people on each session.

Contact us to discuss this training further and see how we can help you.