Málaga and Cardioprotection
Why Do We Need Cardioprotection and Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in Málaga?
Cardiac arrest, a life-threatening condition in which the heart comes to a standstill, is quite common, and it is often underestimated. In Spain, there are 30,000 sudden deaths a year, that is to say, almost 100 a day, or one every 15 minutes. Only in Andalusia, there are 6200 sudden deaths a year (17 a day), while in Málaga, they amount to 3 or 4 a day.
Unfortunately, the probability of out-of-hospital surviving cardiac arrest caused by ventricular arrhythmia is 5 to 10 percent. Resuscitation must be started as soon as possible. Every minute that passes, there is a 10 percent decrease in the victim’s chance of survival. After 10 minutes of no intervention, the victim is unlikely to survive.
For better assistance and prognosis, a series of steps can be taken. Together, they are known as “chain of survival”. The most important steps are early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and rapid defibrillation using an automated external defibrillator (AED).
Ideally, CPR should begin less than 3 minutes after cardiac arrest. The European Resuscitation Council (ERC) Guidelines 2021 are clear in this regard: countries should implement a nationwide programme to promote the availability and use of defibrillators and train citizens in CPR.
Local governments should become aware of the need of cardioprotection, making CPR knowledge and AEDs available to the population.
The situation in the city of Málaga today
There are more than 600 public- and private-access defibrillators in Málaga today. They can be found in sports facilities, social community centres, libraries, car parks, market squares, police stations, buses, underground trains and stations, the Andalusia Technology Park (PTA), banks, professional societies, hotels, supermarkets, homes and street stations (24). In addition, pharmacies will be fitted with defibrillators and 60 more AEDs will be added to the city’s network in the near future.
Thanks to the ongoing training programme implemented with the support of the Former Intensive Care Patients’ Association (EXPAUMI), thousands of Malagueños have been trained in CPR so far.
Finally, the digital map produced by the City of Málaga Computer Centre shows the exact location of every defibrillator in the city: www.desfibriladores.malaga.eu.
What to do in case of cardiac arrest
If you see someone lying on the ground who is not moving or is having a seizure, check if they are responsive first. Then check their breathing by placing your hand on their chest and counting to ten.
If they are unresponsive and not breathing normally, shout for help! Call the emergency services or 061 and describe the patient’s condition (responsiveness/unresponsiveness, normal breathing/no breathing/gasping).
If the person is unresponsive, shows no movement or signs of life and is not breathing normally, they might be experiencing cardiac arrest. Giving your exact location is crucial for emergency services to arrive on time.
A rapid response to cardiac arrest is of the essence. Ideally, you should act immediately or in the first few minutes.
1. Check whether the person is responsive and breathing normally. If they are not, call for help!
2. Tell someone nearby to call 061, describe the person’s condition and share your exact location.
3. If the person is not breathing, ask someone nearby to find the nearest defibrillator (AED) as you begin CPR, pushing down at least two inches in the centre of the chest at a rate of 100 to 120 pushes a minute. Crucially, CPR should begin immediately or in the first few minutes.
4. Ask the person nearby to turn the AED on and follow the device’s instructions (sticky pads, shock, etc.).
5. Continue CPR until the emergency services or the 061 ambulance arrive. The defibrillator will tell you when to stop so it can analyse the person’s heartbeat (every 2 minutes).