Makkah to host first global project for ‘Heart Safe City’

Sunday, February 3, 2019

JEDDAH — Royal Philips, a global leader in health technology, and the Ministry of Health announced a collaboration on the Heart Safe City project to increase survival rates from sudden cardiac arrest. The program will be tested in the holy city of Makkah utilizing the expertise of Philips.

The program will leverage a unique end-to-end solution combining education programs to increase awareness of CPR, the use of publicly-available AEDs (Automated External Defibrillator), and new technologies to strengthen the «chain of survival» from the moment an incident occurs to the patient reaching the hospital.

Minister of Health Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah explained: “We are very excited to test this staged program in Makkah. This will be the first city in Saudi Arabia to participate in this kind of program and the project will better prepare us for shaping a Heart Safe City around Makkah that is both efficient, effective and technologically enabled. It is a pragmatic approach to better managing morbidity and mortality associated with cardiovascular disease. Leveraging solutions across the chain of survival to combat the millions of deaths that occur from cardiac arrest each year.”

Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of global mortality, accounting for almost 17 million deaths annually – 44 percent of all known-communicable disease deaths globally.

In the Kingdom, the ratio is 37 percent according to the WHO statistics. It is estimated that about 40-50 percent of all cardiovascular deaths are due to sudden cardiac arrest. The average age for developing heart disease in the Kingdom is 56, 10 years lower than the global average.

The minister said, “The Kingdom also annually hosts over 2 million pilgrims in Makkah from around the world. It is estimated 64 percent of admissions to the ICU during the Haj season is due to cardiovascular disease. Over 45 percent of these patients unfortunately do not survive. The sheer volume of incidents makes Makkah an excellent choice as the inaugural city and represents the start of a program of critical importance to us at the ministry and the Kingdom overall.”

It is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of sudden cardiac arrest incidents happen outside hospitals. For every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation, an SCA victim’s chance of survival decreases by 7 to 10 percent. These cardiac arrests can happen anywhere, at any time. With bystander intervention and treatment with an AED, the survival triples to 31.4 percent.

“Philips is dedicated to providing integrated cardiology solutions with a focus on prevention, diagnosis and treatment,” said Ozlem Fidanci, CEO, Philips MET at Philips. “By working directly with the Ministry of Health to offer a large-scale, integrated suite of services and expertise, we have the opportunity to make a significant positive impact on the chances of survival from sudden cardiac arrests that occur outside of the hospital.” — SG