Without CPR I wouldn’t be here today, I feel lucky to be, says Belfast fitness coach

Belfast man who suffered cardiac arrest appeals for people to train in life-saving CPR

The former competitive rugby player, golfer and sprinter collapsed at a holiday home on the north coast in August 2022 and was saved by quick CPR performed by his wife, Andrea, who gave him a second life opportunity

Steve’s heart stopped for 40 minutes and doctors prepared his family for the worst when he entered intensive care.

But against all odds, she has now made a full recovery and is enjoying an active lifestyle again.

As both he and Andrea appeal to the British Heart Foundation (BHF) for people to be trained in life-saving CPR skills, he says: The ambulance crew who attended me couldn’t believe I survived, which which indicated to me how serious it was.

I think everyone, and as many young people as possible, should have the courage to stand up and do the business and learn CPR.

The doctors believe my heart stopped for about 40 minutes, and it was thanks to my wife Andreas’ immediate action to perform CPR that I am here today having this conversation.

Steve Bond

Steve (61) is a fitness trainer who works with competitive athletes through his company Bond Fitness.

Originally from North Belfast but now living in Hertfordshire, he was working at the ISPS Handa European Tour golf event in Galgorm and staying near Kells when he suffered a cardiac arrest outside hospital 17 months ago.

He collapsed in the bathroom of the vacation rental he was staying in just after getting out of bed at 7.15am.

His wife of 30 years, Andrea, who is a nutrition and fitness coach, quickly realized something serious had happened and immediately called 999.

He then performed life-saving CPR for 13 minutes until paramedics arrived and took over.

Andrea, who like her husband regularly updates her CPR training, recalled the fear on August 15, 2022, when she saw her husband collapse in front of her.

It was just a horrifying moment, he explains.

My husband, the father of my two children, was changing color and having contractions.

He also started gasping and I was convinced he was going to die right in front of me.

I knew I couldn’t let this happen. I had just lost my mother and watched my father die in front of me when I was little, so I was determined to do everything I could to make sure Steve lived.

I started CPR and dialed 999. The call handler helped me count the times as I was initially going too fast. This was my first time doing CPR and I ended up doing it almost a quarter of an hour before the paramedics arrived.

After another half hour of CPR and defibrillation by paramedics, Steve was taken to Antrim Area Hospital and A&E, where he was ventilated and transferred to intensive care.

We didn’t expect him to leave that hospital alive, says Andrea.

We were told not to leave the hospital, so I called our children to come say goodbye to their father. It was just awful.

They moved him to another room and I was convinced he was the one who had disappeared.

Miraculously, Steve had made it and was even taken off the ventilator ahead of schedule. We couldn’t believe it.

Steve doesn’t remember anything about the first four days in intensive care. When he regained consciousness, his memory had been affected by the deprivation of oxygen during the 40 minutes his heart had stopped.

He says: I didn’t know how serious my cardiac arrest was until I was seen by a large number of consultants who told me they had never seen anyone survive what had happened.

When I came to the hospital, it was quite confusing because I didn’t know where I was.

Andrea was trying to explain what had happened, but the lack of oxygen for 40 minutes caused brain damage that affected my memory.

I’m a pretty pragmatic person so I listened to what I needed to do to recover and followed all the advice.

I have worked in rehabilitation with athletes so I was quite aware of the things to do and the benefits. There is nothing you can do but accept what is happening to you.

Now I’m back to exercising five or six times a week by walking, cycling and playing golf. I feel lucky to still be here. It gives you a very different perspective on life and I really want to live the best life possible.

If they ask me to go somewhere or do something, I don’t hesitate. I know everything can be removed with a click of a finger.

Andrea and Steve Bond

As a fitness expert who played for Belfast’s North Rugby Club and still works out most days, Steve has always enjoyed a healthy lifestyle.

Having contracted Covid-19 four times, the virus is believed to have caused scarring to Steve’s heart which may have contributed to his cardiac arrest.

He had an ICD fitted to help protect him from further life-threatening heart rhythms.

Now enjoying his professional coaching career again, people in Northern Ireland are being urged to learn CPR.

He says: Andrea and I have done a lot of CPR training as the techniques are continually updated and we like to do refresher courses.

I would love for everyone to take the time to try BHF’s RevivR tool and learn CPR so that if the unthinkable were to happen, you would know how to save a loved one. Without CPR I would not be here today.

There are more than 1,400 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests every year in Northern Ireland.

Tragically, less than one in 10 people survive a statistic that the BHF is determined to improve by providing everyone with the opportunity to learn CPR.

Recent figures from a charity survey show that Northern Ireland is leading the way for life-saving skills in the UK.

Almost three quarters of adults here (74%) have learned CPR and almost all (96%) believe it is an important skill to learn.

Close behind us is Scotland, with 71% of adults having the skills to save a life, while Wales has 68% and England lags behind with 58%.

People in Northern Ireland were also found to be most confident in performing CPR (63%), followed by Wales (60%), Scotland (59%) and then England (57%) .

However, the national survey suggests there are still around 350,000 adults in Northern Ireland who have yet to learn life-saving skills.

The figures were revealed as the BHF appealed to the whole of the UK to learn CPR during Heart Month, with the message to help protect the heart of someone you love.

With around 80% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occurring at home, most people are likely to perform CPR on a loved one.

The survey carried out for the BHF by Censuswide also suggests generational differences in awareness of CPR in Northern Ireland, with the millennial generation (aged 27-42) leading the way, with 83% having learned CPR, compared to 61% of baby boomers (age 42). 59-77).

Fearghal McKinney, head of the British Heart Foundation NI, says: It is reassuring that almost three quarters of people surveyed in Northern Ireland have been trained in CPR and most feel confident using it.

However, our mission is to increase these numbers even more.

Every moment counts when someone is in cardiac arrest, and being able to step in and perform CPR could be the difference between life and death.

A cardiac arrest can affect anyone, at any time, so we want as many people as possible to learn CPR.

Performing rapid CPR and defibrillation in the event of cardiac arrest can be the difference between life and death, as Steve Bond and many others have found out the hard way.

The charity’s innovative free online training tool RevivR can teach CPR and the correct steps to use a defibrillator in just 15 minutes.

Rapid CPR and defibrillation can more than double the chance of survival.

Now you can learn CPR for free, in just 15 minutes, using the BHF RevivR online tool.

All you need is a cell phone and a pillow.

RevivR teaches you to recognize a cardiac arrest, gives feedback on chest compressions and describes the correct steps to use a defibrillator, giving anyone the confidence to step in and help save a life.

McKinney adds: With our RevivR tool, all you need to learn how to save a life is 15 spare minutes, a phone and a pillow.

Try it during your next coffee or lunch, it could help save a life, a loved one.

Find out more at bhf.org.uk

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