Warning Signs Campaign 2009

Agency The Campaign Palace
Advertiser The Heart Foundation (Victoria)
Author Arwa Mahdawi
Total Campaign Expenditure $1 - 2 million

DELAYING HELP WAS COSTING LIVES

Each year in Australia, more than 48,000 major coronary events occur, half of which are fatal. Over 50% of deaths from heart attack happen before the patient gets to hospital and about 25% of people die within one hour of their first symptom. Tragically, one in three of these deaths could have been prevented if the patient had sought medical help faster. Prompt medical help is crucial: not just for your chances of survival but for your future quality of life. Every minute that help is delayed your heart muscle is dying. Not only do your chances of survival decrease, but heart function may be permanently impaired and you could be left disabled.

It's scary stuff. But despite the need for a quick response, studies indicate that fewer than 15% of people with heart attack reach hospital within one hour of the onset of symptoms while more than 50% arrive more than six hours later. And it is patient delay – the interval between symptom onset and the person calling "000" – which is the most significant cause of delay in treatment. In one study the median patient delay was 6.4 hours. This delay has shown no improvement over time despite some short term chest pain awareness raising campaigns.