A new PolyU study found that patients aged 40 and under in Hong Kong who suffer heart attacks outside hospitals are almost 10 times more likely to survive if emergency first aid procedures are applied promptly.


But very few receive timely help – only 34 per cent received cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), while just 6.8 per cent were assisted with an automated external defibrillator (AED) between December 2017 and December 2020.


The research was conducted by Prof. Amy Fu, Peter Hung Professor in Pain Management and Associate Head of the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, and Dr Richard Xu, Research Assistant Professor (Public Health) of the same department. They found that among a total of 829 cases aged 40 or below, only 35 (4.2%) cases survived to discharge.


They also revealed that if CPR and AED were applied in a timely manner, these young patients’ survival rate could improve from around 2% to 9.2% and 25% respectively.


Prof. Fu and Dr Xu’s study was commissioned by the SADS HK Foundation, which supports patients with sudden arrhythmia death syndrome. The Foundation was founded by Ms Shirley Chan, who is also a PolyU Council Member.


The study is Hong Kong’s first large-scale analysis of patients who suffered cardiac arrests outside hospitals.


Dr Axel Siu Yuet-chung, a specialist in emergency medicine and an Advisory Member of SADS HK, said the study underscored the importance of promoting knowledge about applying CPR and AED to the public.