Most Brits believe there’s a 50/50 chance of surviving cardiac arrest – but reality is much different

ADULTS in the UK assume there is a 50/50 chance of surviving cardiac arrest – but the reality is that nine out of ten cases that happen outside of a hospital setting result in death.

A survey of 2,000 adults found that 28 percent believe a cardiac arrest is the same as a heart attack.

A new poll shows adults in the UK believe they have a 50/50 chance of surviving cardiac arrest


A new poll shows adults in the UK believe they have a 50/50 chance of surviving cardiac arrestPhoto credit: SWNS
Less than a quarter of the 2,000 respondents believe that cardiac arrest is more urgent than a heart attack


Less than a quarter of the 2,000 respondents believe that cardiac arrest is more urgent than a heart attackPhoto credit: SWNS

However, cardiac arrest is the ultimate medical emergency when the heart stops beating and the person is clinically dead.

Still, less than a quarter of respondents believe cardiac arrest is more urgent than a heart attack.

During a heart attack, the heart normally continues to beat, but the blood supply to the organ is disrupted.

But only 30 percent of the adults surveyed knew that a person was clinically dead at the time of arrest.

Nearly half of respondents (49 percent) also believe cardiac arrest survivors receive the same rehabilitation services and psychological support as those who have suffered a stroke, heart attack, or who have been diagnosed with cancer.

Currently, however, there is no formal plan of care for cardiac arrest survivors that is consistently implemented across the UK.

According to experts, every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces a person’s chance of survival by up to 10 percent.

Symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest They are immediate and severe and can include a sudden collapse with loss of consciousness, no pulse, and no breathing.

James Cant, CEO of the Resuscitation Council UK, which commissioned the research, said: “Currently we are failing people who survive cardiac arrest.

“There is no individual care plan for the rehabilitation of these patients. They are often sent home with severe neurological, physical and emotional problems and do not receive the vital services they need to recover.”

“Everyone affected by cardiac arrest has a right to recovery and rehabilitation, which is a key element in improving the quality of life after cardiac arrest.”

Worryingly, while 23 percent said they sometimes experience chest pain, more than half of them (59 percent) have never spoken to a doctor.

It also found that 37 percent of adults would not feel very safe helping someone in cardiac arrest, while 24 percent would not feel safe at all.

According to figures from, only 15 percent believe that only trained medical professionals should use a defibrillator, and only 11 percent have complete confidence that they can use a defibrillator correctly.

James Cant added, “Only 29 percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survivors are evaluated for neurological rehabilitation as part of their post-arrest care, and psychological evaluation is offered to only 20 percent of survivors.”

“Our goal is to increase viewer awareness of CPR and defibrillation to increase survival rates, but services must also be there to support those who survive.”

Cardiac arrest is scary

Charlotte Pickwick, 46, felt her world came crashing down on Boxing Day 2017 when she went into cardiac arrest.

After working as an NHS care manager for 23 years and being involved in numerous treatment situations, she was suddenly the patient.

At 2:20 a.m., Charlotte gasped, waking her husband, Stuart.

When he turned on the light, Charlotte occasionally let out a groan, her eyes widened, and she turned blue.

Stuart dialed 999, pulled Charlotte to the floor where he began CPR for eight minutes before paramedics arrived to continue saving her life.

Charlotte said: “I was told I was arrested three more times after arriving at the hospital.

“I remember waking up in ITU the next day and asking where I was – my parents were there and told me I had gone into cardiac arrest.

“I remember yelling at them and asking who was doing CPR on me.

“I thought nurses didn’t go into cardiac arrest; I would have received a warning.”

Benjamin Culff, out stokeHe was just 17 when he started his morning shift at a restaurant on August 13, 2017.

He hadn’t expected to wake up in the hospital, and if his work colleagues hadn’t reacted quickly, he might not have woken up at all.

From 2010 to 2017, Benjamin suffered a series of unexplained seizures but didn’t know what caused them.

One day at work, in Tamworth, Staffordshirehe went to get some glasses and that’s the last thing he remembers about that evening.

Benjamin had collapsed and was found unconscious by his colleagues. At that point it was clear that he had suffered cardiac arrest.

Luckily his colleague could start cardiopulmonary resuscitationalthough he had no formal training and a defibrillator was brought in from the restaurant reception.

Together, Benjamin’s colleagues administered two shocks to his body, following the defibrillator device’s instructions, and luckily the second shock revived him just as paramedics arrived.

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Benjamin said: “Since my cardiac arrest, I have been offered recovery support by Royal Stoke Hospital, including revisiting where I had stayed during my time in hospital.”

“Luckily I recovered well, so I turned down the support. However, my family still has ongoing concerns and my mother prodded me for a while while I slept to check if I was still breathing.”

Zack Zwiezen

Zack Zwiezen is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Zack Zwiezen joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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