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How one small change to CPR could have saved Shane Warne

It still seems so unreal that Shane Warne is no longer with us. It was a sad and tragic death of a cricketing legend from an apparent heart attack, that shook the whole country.

The brave and valiant efforts of his friends to give him CPR for 20 minutes in an attempt to save him paint a very sad picture.

If only they had been able to discover him earlier and sooner after his heart attack, the CPR could have saved him. Because experts agree the quicker you can apply CPR to someone the better the chance of them making a full recovery.

Conversely, the longer it takes for the person to be discovered after the heart attack, the less likely CPR, or anything for that matter, will save them.

Research shows that for every minute after a heart attack that resuscitation isn’t started the chance of recovery falls by 10%. But what that means is that even 5 minutes after a heart attack, there is still a 50% chance of recovery.

And if CPR can be supplemented with defibrillation, then the chance of recovery increases dramatically.

Remember that the purpose of CPR is NOT to restart your heart after a heart attack. Its actual purpose is to delay tissue and organ death by restoring a partial flow of oxygenated blood to the brain and heart. That’s why you have to keep doing it, constantly, for up to 20 minutes in order to ensure that the blood and oxygen, keep pumping through the body. (People don’t realise how exhausting CPR is until they actually have to do it in real life or even in first aid training.)

CPR’s job is to keep the person from deteriorating too quickly so that when the ambulance crew arrive to take over or someone can bring an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) they can revive the person and restart their heart. It keeps vital organs like the brain alive long enough that the person won’t suffer permanent brain damage.

It’s sad to think that maybe if Shane’s friends had discovered him possibly just 20 or 30 minutes earlier and applied the CPR quicker, that he could still be with us. We’ll never know exactly how long after his heart attack he was found.

The only positive thing to come out of this awful tragedy, hopefully is that more people become aware of their heart health and take positive steps to stay fit and healthy.

And if it makes more people think that maybe they should do some CPR or first aid training so they would know what to do if such a tragedy happened to their friend, then that would be good for everyone.

Given the character that Shane Warne was, it is highly likely that he would approve of more people getting CPR training to help save other people’s lives. Vale Warnie!


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