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Adelani Temiloluwa
School Of Nursing Ondo
Nursing Student
300Level, Nigeria.

Being alive may seem as a birthright; as we wake up, eat, walk around, play, engage in other activities of daily living till the close of the day, then sleep and hope to wake again the next day to continue same routine seamlessly. Only if we knew that the difference between living and dying was just a breath.

Consider the following scenarios:
- Johnny and James are playing lawn tennis, and suddenly Johnny collapses after experiencing a fit of chest pain, tightness and sudden breathlessness. Unfortunately, Johnny dies before James could get the needed help.

- Nkechi goes to do some shopping in the market. While at it, she feels dizzy all of a sudden and passes out. Onlookers gather around her, some are praying, while others are pouring cold water on her, expecting her to regain consciousness. Six minutes passes, and Nkechi inhales her last breath.
- Tom is on the school bus eating while on his way to school. He suddenly chokes on his food. He holds his throat and gasps for air. His fellow students watch him struggle for breath but can’t help him. They call on the driver, who pulls over but unfortunately is also unable to provide any help. Minutes go by and Tom seizes to breathe.

Could James have been able to assist Johnny before he got external help? Could the market women around Nkechi have been able to help extend the life of Nkechi before an ambulance arrived? Could Tom’s schoolmates or bus driver have been able to provide any relief before professional help came?

This article aims to proffer answer to these questions.

Sudden Cardiac death is an unexpected death from a cardiovascular cause. Globally, it is one of the leading causes of death. According to a study carried out by Benjamin E.J et al, 2018, it was found out that 350,000 cardiac arrests happen outside of hospitals each year. Furthermore, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2018) reports that 9 in 10 cases of cardiac arrest dies from the event.

These statistics are even more worrisome because with the immediate commencement of a simple Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), the chances of victims’ survival are doubled.

This begs the question “Why does cardiac arrest still pose such a huge burden”?

All over the world, the Basic Life Support syllabus is designed in such a way that both medical and non-medical personnels can easily understand its content and acquire the necessary skills. As a matter of fact, the basic minimum requirement to undergo a BLS training is to be a high school (secondary school) graduate. According to a report by a Sky News reporter, Frazer Maude, on 3rd January 2019, the British government have approved teaching CPR and other basic first aids skills in schools in the United Kingdom from January 2020.

The implication of this decision cannot be over emphasized, as it will significantly improve the chances of survival of out-of-hospital occurrences of cardiac arrests.

Indeed, Johnny could have survived only if James had the skills and knowledge to administer a CPR on him. Nkechi could have been alive if just one of the market women administered a CPR on her. Tom could have survived if one of his schoolmates or driver could carry out a Heimlich maneuver and relieve him of his choking.

The importance therefore of acquiring the skill and knowledge of Basic Life Support cannot be overemphasized. This is irrespective of a person’s profession or trade, be it a teacher, a student, a market man/woman, a pastor, banker, etc., as cardiac arrest can happen to a person of any age, can occur at any time, can happen to people of all fitness levels, and worse more, it can occur without warning. However the presence of a skilled bystander can be a game changer, as this person can be the line between life and death.

1. The Federal Government should review the education system so as to include BLS and basic first aid into the curriculum for schools and colleges.
2. Corporate bodies should encourage their staff to undergo BLS training.
3. Individuals, despite their professions should be encouraged to acquire the BLS skill and knowledge.

1.Benjamin EJ, Virani SS, Callaway CW, Chamberlain AM, Chang AR, Cheng S. Heart disease and stroke statistics 2018;137(12):e67-e492

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