Thursday, 27 February 2014

#didyouknow - 25 Facts About the Heart

As it's National Heart Month, we thought we would give you some facts about the Heart, the most important organ in the human body, which you may not have known!

  •  An average adult heart beats 72 times a minute, 100,000 times a day, 3,600,000 times a year and 2.5 billion times during a lifetime!
  •  Even though the heart only weighs 11 ounces on average, it pumps 2,000 gallons of blood through 60,000 miles of blood vessels each day! Yes, that’s 60,000 miles!
  •  Between 5 and 30 litres of blood is pumped through the body by the heart per minute!
  • During an average lifetime, the heart will pump nearly 1.5million barrels of blood around the body, that’s enough to fill 100 swimming pools.
  •  Being the Universal symbol for ‘Love’, Ancient Greeks believed the heart was the seat of spirit, the Chinese associated it with the centre for happiness whilst the Egyptians thought that emotions and intellect arose from the heart.
  •  The term ‘a broken heart’ is an actual thing, research has indicated that when you break up with someone you have loved, news of a family death can lead a heightened risk for heart attack. The trauma brought on by such events can cause the release of stress hormones, stunning the heart into mimicking symptoms of a heart attack. So take care of it!
  • Laughing is good for your heart! So make every effort to 'LOL'. Research has indicated that a good old laugh can cause the lining of blood vessel walks called endothelium to relax increasing blood flow for up to 45mins. But please don't just randomly start laughing in the street.. that's just wierd.
  • Early Egyptians believed that the heart and other major organs had wills of their own and would move around inside the body. True story.
  • The ‘thump-thump’ of a heartbeat is the sound made by all four of the valves within the heart closing.
  • The human heart has four chambers, two superior atria and two inferior ventricles.
  • ‘Atrium’ is Latin for ‘entrance hall’ and ‘Ventricle’ is Latin for ‘little belly’.
  • Because the heart has its own electrical impulse, it can continue to beat even when separated from the body, as long as it has an adequate supply of oxygen available.
  • The heart pumps blood to almost all of the body’s 75 trillion cells. The only area of the body that gets no blood supply is the corneas.
  • A newborn baby has about one cup of blood in circulation whereas an adult human has about four to five quarts which the heart pumps to all the tissues and to and from the lungs in about one minute whilst beating 75 times.
  • If you grab a tennis ball and squeeze it tightly, that’s how hard the beating heart works to pump blood around the human body.
  • If you endure a prolonged lack of sleep, it can cause irregular jumping heartbeats called premature ventricle contractions. (PVCs)
  • It takes about 20 seconds for blood to circulate through the entire human body! 20 seconds!
  • Electrical impulses in the heart muscle are what cause the heart to beat.
  • 5% of the body’s blood supplies the heart, 15-20% goes to the brain and central nervous system whilst 22% goes to the kidneys!
  • Every day the heart creates enough energy to drive a truck 20 miles. In a lifetime, that is the equivalent of driving to the moon and back.
  • When the body is resting, it only takes 6 seconds for blood to travel from heart to the lungs and back. Only 8 seconds for it to go to the brain and back and only 16 seconds for it to reach the toes and travel all the way back to the heart.
  • A kitchen faucet would need to be turned on all the way for at least 45 years to equal the amount of blood pumped by the heart in an average lifetime.
  • The heart begins beating 4 weeks after conception.
  • The human heart is not ‘heart-shaped’, a cow’s heart is closer to the ‘heart-shape’ we use to indicate the heart.
  • The largest artery in the body, the aorta, is almost the diameter of a garden hose. Capillaries, on the other hand, are so small that it takes ten of them to equal the thickness of a strand of human hair

Monday, 24 February 2014

Defibrillator shortage is costing people their lives

A shortage of defibrillators - which shock the heart - and a lack of public awareness could be costing thousands of lives every year, research suggests.
Experts found that fewer than 2% of heart attack victims in Hampshire were treated with the device before an ambulance arrived - a figure described as "disappointingly low".

Hampshire was chosen because it has a mix of rural and urban settings, covers an area of 1,400 square miles, and has a population of around 1.76 million, 12% of whom are aged over 70.

A defibrillator is an electrical device that delivers a shock to the heart in the event of the victim suffering a cardiac arrest. The device will not be activated if not needed; therefore there is no chance of making the situation worse.

For all emergency calls made from locations other than a person's home, the call handler specifically asked whether the caller can access a defibrillator. If so, instructions were given in how to use it.
During the course of the study, the service received 1,035 calls about confirmed cardiac arrests away from a hospital - the equivalent of one for every 600 members of the public each year.
For 44 of these incidents (4.25%), in 34 different locations, the caller was able to access an external defibrillator. However, it was successfully retrieved and used in less than half the cases (18 cases) before the arrival of an ambulance.
This gave an overall use rate of just 1.74% of all cardiac arrests recorded, which the authors said was "disappointingly low" and similar to previous figures from the London Ambulance Service.
Across Hampshire, 673 defibrillators that could be accessed by the public were located in 278 places, including 146 devices placed in large shopping centres.
However, the research showed that only just over one in 10 nursing homes, around one in 20 train stations and a similar number of community centres and village halls had defibrillators.
The experts said their findings "would probably be similar" to elsewhere in the UK.
They said only between 2% and 12% of those who have a heart attack outside hospital survive but defibrillators could at least double the chance of survival.
The experts stressed the devices are "safe and effective when used by members of the public even with minimal or no first aid training".

More people need to be aware of AED locations, as anyone can save a life with the use of a defibrillator. For your nearest AED to home, work and leisure facilities visit

If a defibrillator is not available after dialling 999, push hard and fast – two times per second – in the centre of the chest, until the emergency services arrive.