Heart organisations unite


The Heart Foundation and Heart of the Nation are joining forces in a bid to improve the survival rate from out of hospital cardiac arrests in Australia including in Hume and Whittlesea.

The two organisations have just signed a Memorandum of Understanding to bolster community and government action relating to cardiopulmonary resuciation (CPR) and defibrillator access and use.

The partnership between the two organisations will begin with several targeted projects that place more Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) into rural and semi-rural areas, with a focus on educating the community about the location of AEDs that will be placed there, as well as interactive community education sessions to give confidence to community members to do respond while waiting for paramedics to arrive.

According to the Heart Foundation, at present only one in 20 Australians will survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

A cardiac arrest is when the heart suddenly stops working due to an electrical malfunction inside the heart.

Because cardiac arrest usually begins as an electrical problem, it is the AED that has the vital role in restoring the heart’s natural rhythm, in most cases – but it must be used quickly to have the most impact on chances of survival.

This survival rate can be improved if more Australians who witness a cardiac arrest feel empowered to give CPR and critically, have better access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in the precious few minutes that follow a cardiac arrest.

More than 24,000 Australians die every year from sudden cardiac death but in some cases a more rapid and confident response from bystanders could save more lives.

Heart of the Nation chief executive, Greg Page, best known in the community for his career as the original Yellow Wiggle, considers himself a fortunate survivor of a cardiac arrest after bystanders rushed to his aid following a cardiac arrest on stage in 2020.

“Those crucial minutes before an ambulance arrives are when CPR and an AED need to be used to dramatically increase a person’s chance of survival,” Mr Page said.

“I strongly believe that through this partnership with the Heart Foundation, we can continue to improve CPR and AED education and awareness in our communities

“Together, we can also more strongly advocate for Governments across Australia to support an increased roll-out of AEDs. We are honoured to be doing this in tandem with the Heart Foundation, a long-standing name in the fight against heart-related health issues.”

Heart Foundation chief executive David Lloyd said the partnership would enhance both organisations’ efforts relating to cardiac arrest, ultimately saving more lives.

“The 60-year strong history of the Heart Foundation combined with Heart of the Nation’s energy and determination to help more Australians survive out of hospital cardiac arrests will help to enhance efforts to place more defibrillators where they are needed most,” Mr Lloyd said.

“We also look forward to initiatives that empower many more Australians to become active bystanders should they witness a cardiac arrest. We want as many Australians as possible to feel confident to give CPR and know where to find an AED and how to use one in a pinch.

“This ultimately means more lives saved, and so we are incredibly grateful and excited to work with Greg Page and the Heart of the Nation team to achieve this.”