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Monday, June 8, 1998 Published at 08:59 GMT 09:59 UK


Half of Britons ignorant about heart attack action

Safe in hospital, but many are ignorant about heart attack action

Over half of all Britons don't know that if someone has a heart attack they should immediately call an ambulance.

An National Opinions Poll survey for the British Heart Foundation showed that 56% of those questioned did not know that calling an ambulance immediately can mean the difference between life and death.

Three quarters wrongly thought giving the kiss of life and massaging the heart could save someone's life on their own, although only 19% knew how to give the kiss of life.


They didn't know that a machine called a defibrillator was needed to restart the heart. Defibrillators give an electric shock to the heart which jolts it back into life.

The British Heart Foundation says between 200 and 250 British people die of heart attacks every day because they do not get to hospital in time to have defibrillation.

Eight minutes

Although heart massage and the kiss of life can help people who have heart attacks, without defibrillation they can only survive for an average of eight minutes.

[ image: The British Heart Foundation launches its appeal]
The British Heart Foundation launches its appeal
The British Heart Foundation is launching a 1m Start a Heart appeal to raise money to provide 400 defibrillators to trained operators in the community.

It wants responsible members of the community, such as police and GPs to be trained to use defibrillators.

More access

A survey by the charity found only 67% of 200 public venues had access to a defibrillator.

Maxine Smith, the BHF's director of communications, said: "The aim of our appeal is to encourage more public venues to acquire defibrillators and to encourage as many people as possible to learn emergency life support skills through schemes such as Heartstart UK. It could make the difference between life and death."

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