Chain of Survival

Chain of Survival

A cardiac arrest is when the heart stops beating. Without the heart pumping blood around the body, the brain is starved of oxygen leading to brain damage and death. If someone suffers from cardiac arrest outside a hospital setting, the chances of survival are affected by how fast help can arrive.

The chain of survival is a set of four actions taken in sequence to improve chances of survival and recovery following a cardiac arrest:

  1. Early recognition and call for help – ideally this is done before a cardiac arrest occurs upon recognition of signs and symptoms.
  2. Early CPR – this can buy you time until the arrival of an automated external defibrillator (AED) or medical help.
  3. Early defibrillation – use of an AED to restart the heart. Survival rates drop by 10% for every minute of delay in delivering a shock via AED.
  4. Early access to post-resuscitation care from medical professionals can restore quality of life.


Current survival rates in the UK for out of hospital cardiac arrest are only 8%.

Using an AED can greatly increase survival rates. Speed is essential as for every minute of delay it reduces survival rates by 10%.

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