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Eric Fruitman from Smartman sharing information about 'Dubai Heart Safe City' during Arab Health 2022 in Dubai on Monday Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: A new initiative called ‘Dubai Heart Safe City’, launched at Arab Health 2022 on Monday, will train people and provide devices to prevent fatalities from cardiac arrest by providing life-saving support in the crucial four minutes after the cardiac arrest.

Dubai Health Authority (DHA) in conjunction Dubai Police and Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services (DCAS) launched the project on the opening day of Arab Health, an annual event in Dubai showcasing the latest medical innovations.

DHA announced its collaboration with American Heart Association (AHA), which initiated its ‘Heart Saver’ programme in the UAE. Nearly 10,000 people have received training and 3,200 AED (Automatic Electrical Defibrillator) devices have been provided at locations such as malls, airports and community centres.

Cardia arrests in Dubai

DHA’s studies found that Dubai annually had nearly 1,600 episodes of cardiac arrest, with only five per cent survival in such cases.

Dr Fahd Baslaib, interventional cardiologist and CEO of Rashid Hospital, Dubai, said: “A cardiac arrest happens when an individual’s heart suddenly stops working altogether… This could be owing to electrical abnormalities in the heart rhythms or due to a heart attack.”

He added: “It has been seen that people who suffer a cardiac arrest outside of hospital facilities have a very high fatality rate. Survival rates in cardiac arrest are slim without timely revival of the heart.”

Key to saving lives

Dr Baslaib said in Heart Safe cities such as Copenhagen and Seattle the survival rate was 65 per cent. “This requires trained personal conducting CPR [Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation emergency lifesaving procedure performed when the heart stops beating], using AED devices and reviving a person within the golden window of four minutes or less, after which treatment can continue at the nearest ER [emergency room] to where the patient can be rushed in an ambulance. What we want to do in Dubai is provide the training and the equipment in the community to be able to make Dubai as Heart Safe as Copenhagen and Seattle.”

Five-year timeline

DHA negotiated with over five companies to provide AED devices along with the Heart Saver training programme with AHA. As part of the project, which has a time line of five years, over 100,000 members of the public, including health care professionals, will be trained in Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and 10,000 AED devices will be provided in key community areas.

The DHA conducted several population density and demographic studies before providing the necessary equipment in designated areas. “We have already worked with government departments such as DEWA [Dubai Electricity and Water Authority] and Dubai Municipality in providing CPR training. After this we will move to training people in the private sector as well,” said Dr Baslaib.

Smart app

Apart from training members of the public in CPR and providing AED devices, the third important step that is part of the programme implementation is a user-friendly smart application for mobile phones, added Dr Baslaib. “We will provide a smart application which will indicate the nearest AED device and trained person in case such an episode occurs. The intervention will happen in a parallel manner so that precious time is not lost and the patient is revived to reach ER.”