“Heart disease has become a silent epidemic and major killer in our country. It is estimated that India accounts for 60 per cent of the world’s heart disease burden. Studies have also shown that South Asians are at higher risk for cardiac disease and that heart attacks strike at a younger age compared to other ethnic groups.
Causes such as modern lifestyle, lack of physical activity, genetic predisposition, metabolic syndrome and unhealthy dietary habits are believed to be making Indians to be more prone to heart disease.
With improved economic conditions in our country, we are facing a very high prevalence of life-style disorders such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension and coronary artery heart disease which may result in sudden cardiac arrest. Please note that a heart attack and cardiac arrest are not same. Heart attack occurs when the flow of blood to the heart gets blocked, while cardiac arrest occurs when there is a malfunction and the heart beat stops suddenly.
In the case of a sudden cardiac arrest, the event can be reversed if the victim is administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately. If these people receive CPR, the survival can double or even triple their chances of survival. Every minute counts in resuscitation of such victims.
I am told that the mortality due to Sudden Cardiac Arrest is very high in India as compared to the developed countries-- 4280 per 1,00,000 population in India as compared to 60-151 per 1,00,000 in the USA.
It is estimated that 70 per cent of victims who suffer cardiac arrest at home die and it is estimated that 90 per cent of victims of cardiac arrest outside the hospital die.
To prevent the problem of high mortality after sudden cardiac arrest in our country, we need to train Indian population in CPR. Every Indian citizen can save life.
I am happy to note that the Indian resuscitation council, (IRC), an initiative of Indian Society of Anesthesiologists, has developed simple guidelines for primary delivery of CPR called Compression-only-Life Support (COLS) outside a hospital setting. I am told that the guidelines have been developed keeping in mind the limited infrastructure, cultural constraints, and availability of trained personnel and shortage of healthcare workers in our country.
I compliment the Indian resuscitation council for its efforts in developing India specific guidelines as we have been depending on AHA (American Heart association) guidelines for the last 40 years.
I am told that training according to AHA guidelines is very expensive and not within the reach of common man. I am happy that the Indian Resuscitation Council is imparting training across the country free of cost and I compliment them for the same.
I am also happy to note that members of the Indian Society of Anesthesiologists, which has a membership of 27000, are actively participating in CPR training activities across the country. I am told that 1,75,000 people were trained in COLS on 23rd October 2018 (World Restart A Heart Day - WRAH), by various organizations, under the guidance of the Indian resuscitation council.
People from Kanyakumari to Kashmir; Gujarat to Assam; small villages to metro cities; high schools to colleges, universities and nursing colleges; and primary health centers to medical colleges were trained, Training was conducted at different places including bus stands, railway stations, schools, community centers and police stations. I am glad that Rotary Club, Lions club and many NGOs took part in this initiative.
The large attendance at this programme on a single day reflects the awareness created by IRC about the importance of resuscitation training and its relevance to the common man.
I am told that India is the 7th Nation to have its’ own guidelines. International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR), which is like United Nation for Resuscitation Councils of different nations, has recognized this initiative of the IRC and has invited India to join this forum of principal resuscitation organizations worldwide. India is applying for the membership of ILCOR.
I would also like to compliment a large number of organizations which came forward to support this noble initiative, the Telugu Association of North America (TANA), American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) for sponsorship and donating manikins for the training. I compliment the District Collectors and administrations for the support and encouragement provided.
I am told that there is law in many countries to train high school students. Perhaps, we too need a law to make CPR training compulsory in schools. We need to impart this training to all personnel in public sector and private companies. We need to build an India where every citizen is capable of saving others in times of life-threatening distress.