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A virtual learning platform has also been set up to drive awareness through online mediums where CPR will be taught as a life skill. File image for representation. Illustration: Satheesh Vellinezhi

Cardiologists warn of a sharp increase in Sudden Cardiac Deaths (SCD) in India, with young adults the most vulnerable to the condition. The Cardiological Society of India (CSI), an organisation with over 5,000 registered cardiologists from across India, is set to launch a mega educational drive in basic Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) skills.

“Patients collapsing from SCD give us two-and-a-half minutes to be revived. If we come across anyone collapsing and know the basic symptoms, we can help by providing CPR immediately. Instead, we often start crowding the place and try waking [the patient] up with a splash of water. The main agenda of this programme is to ensure that people are aware of SCD’s symptoms and can implement CPR immediately. No life should be lost due to ignorance. Any form of CPR is better than no CPR,’’ Debabrata Roy, honorary general secretary, CSI, said.

According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the leading cause of death globally. An estimated 17.9 million people died of CVDs in 2019, representing 32% of all global deaths. Of these deaths, 85% were due to heart attacks and strokes. Over three quarters of CVD deaths take place in low- and middle-income countries.

As part of the initiative, the CSI is planning two programmes — the CPR awareness initiative, and a school health education project, which will start in West Bengal and roll-out later in other States.

The CPR training programme will involve the setting up of physical kiosks at educational institutions, shopping malls, housing societies, police stations and post offices, to increase awareness. A virtual learning platform has also been set up to drive awareness through online mediums where CPR will be taught as a life skill. People who participate in the training will be awarded a badge of honour. They can learn more about CPR via certified courses facilitated by the cardiologists’ society.

Exposure to high levels of pollution, high sugar intake, and lack of physical activity, are among the prime factors that render Indians vulnerable to heart disease, according to cardiologists.

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