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Brazilian heartsaver program: 'Time is Life' campaign

The cardiac arrest by ventricular fibrillation (VF) is the main cause of sudden death. Its acknowledgment, followed by cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) initiation and early defibrillation, before the arriving of advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) experts, are directly related with the survival chances. For this reason, the bystanders participation in performing the CPR is as important as the medical assistance in this event.

In Londrina, a city with a population of 610,000 and 1200 physicians, a campaign was held aiming to educate people about the importance of basic life support (BLS) instructions and the employ of automatic external defibrillators (AED).

Entitled 'Time is Life', the campaign was held in a site of great public concentration. It took 3 days and was widely covered by the media. 86,700 people attended the event site. It was a pioneer campaign, which called the attention and interest of the people to this subject. We could measure the impact of this campaign, through 1900 signatures of people who got straight knowledge in the event site and also for countless phone calls (about 1300) from people who looked for more information about the BLS course in the training center of the Londrina Medicine College. However, one data specially called our attention: 31 people had already attended the BLS course in 1999, before the campaign, and 168 in the year of 2000, after the campaign. Five physicians, in downtown area, attended the ACLS in 1999, before the campaign and 308 attended this course in 2000, after the campaign was held. An statistic analysis using the X2 method, found this difference significant.

We figured out that campaign like this should be held systematically, in order to educate people, to motivate authorities to develop continuous education programs in BLS and that an educated and informed population may positively interfere in sensitizing the medical community to improve the qualifying in CPR performance.

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Canesin, M., Moretti, M., Grion, C. et al. Brazilian heartsaver program: 'Time is Life' campaign. Crit Care 6 (Suppl 1), P165 (2002).

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