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European Restart a Heart Day
  1. Andrew S Lockey
  1. Correspondence to Dr Andrew S Lockey, Emergency Department, Calderdale Royal Hospital, Halifax HX3 3HW, UK; Andrew.lockey{at}

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October 16th is European Restart a Heart Day ( This initiative, spearheaded by the European Resuscitation Council (ERC), is aimed at increasing survival rates from out-of-hospital cardiorespiratory arrest (OHCA). It was instigated in 2013 following a successful campaign by the ERC to pass a written declaration in the European Parliament, which called upon member states to improve awareness and provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) education to the public as well as healthcare professionals. The 2010 ERC Guidelines had already endorsed the recommendation that all citizens should be taught CPR.1

Every year, approximately 350 000 Europeans suffer OHCA.2 In the UK alone, the figure is estimated to be 60 000.3 Average survival rates are, at best, 12% overall with higher rates (23%) seen in the subgroup of those who are fortunate to arrest in a ‘shockable’ rhythm (ventricular fibrillation or tachycardia).4 Factors that have been proven to improve survival include rapid access to defibrillation and swift onset of CPR in the meantime. For every minute that passes without CPR, survival decreases by 10%. With bystander CPR, this rate drops to 2–3% per minute thus buying extra time for a defibrillator to arrive and be used successfully.1 As Deakin and Gray5 have shown however, the presence of a nearby automated external defibrillator (AED) does not guarantee its use. We therefore need to increase awareness in the use of public access AEDs as well as train our population to perform CPR when needed.

The theme of last year's Restart a Heart Day was ‘Children Save Lives’. Events were held throughout Europe to increase awareness of the problem. In the UK, the Resuscitation Council (UK) distributed a free copy of the award winning Lifesaver programme ( to every …

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