The Chief Executive Officer, Georgia Arrhythmia Consultants and Research Institute, Dr. Felix Sogade and Electrophysiologist, Cardiovascular Diseases and Internal Medicine, Dr. Joseph Poku, have called on Nigerians to learn basic life support skills as efforts to reduce the alarming incidence of sudden deaths among blacks, including Nigerians.
They made the call at the awareness symposium on cardiac arrest held at the Healing Stripes Hospital Foundation, Victoria Island, Lagos.
According to Sogade, there is low knowledge about the importance of basic life support in the country. He said victims of cardiac arrest could be resuscitated and have pulse for 10 minutes before emergency help arrives.
He explained that from the onset of cardiac arrest till the person dies, each minute is very important. "After the sufferer is resuscitated, if assistance does not come within 10 minutes the chance of surviving is zero. So, there is need for people around the victim to act quickly and be able to take step to restore the heart back to regular rhythms."
Sogade added: "About 40 per cent of people who die suddenly, die at home in their sleep - may be difficult to intervene - and the other 60 per cent may die during physical activities or working hours, and such persons may have chance of surviving when aids come at appropriate time."
As an Associate Professor of Medicine, Mercer University School of Medicine and Chairman, Board of Directors for the Association of Black Cardiologists in United State of America, Sogade said, "some of the causes among other multiple conditions responsible are when the heart muscle is very thick due to thickness of the heart muscle."
Sogade, therefore, urged people to pay attention to some signs of cardiac arrest. "When someone is falling asleep uncontrollably during normal working hours, heart skipping, history of faint, they should seek medical evaluation and not ascribe it to lack of enough sleep or fatigue."
Poku, pointed out some risk factors for sudden death in adults as: high blood pressure, diabetics, smoking and overweight. "To know your heart function, you can do echocardiogram, electrocardiogram and electrical recording of the heart."
According to Poku, if everyone learns the basic life support skills, it would save the lives of many who lose consciousness. "We will also bring automatic external defibrillator, which is easy to use. We have donated to some institutions in Nigeria in the past."