Saving lives

Faster, better emergency response and treatment is the key

When a stroke or cardiac arrest occurs, getting the right care fast is critical. Each minute without oxygen and blood flow to the brain increases the risk of permanent damage and death. Every second counts.

Each year, an estimated 35,000 cardiac arrests occur in Canada. The vast majority happen in public places or at home, and few people survive. But survival rates double if someone performs CPR and uses an automated external defibrillator (AED).

Each year, over 108,000 strokes occur in Canada. It’s a leading cause of death and a major cause of disability. Strokes have a devastating impact on Canadian families, and can change lives in a second.

Heart & Stroke is working to save lives with faster, better emergency response and treatment for stroke and cardiac arrest. See our latest results.

Our action plan:
  • Teach more Canadians to recognize a stroke by promoting the FAST signs of stroke.
  • Champion improved access to quality stroke care and rehabilitation for all.
  • Making more Canadians ready to respond to a cardiac emergency with CPR, through training and awareness.
  • Increase access to AEDs and train more people to use them.
  • Promote best practices in stroke care and rehabilitation to the healthcare community.
  • Continue overseeing Canada’s national standards for cardiac emergency care for healthcare professionals.

Estimated number of cardiac arrests that occur each year in Canada.

Heart & Stroke breakthroughs in saving lives

1964 First successful surgery to correct previously fatal “blue baby” heart defect

1976 Heart & Stroke introduces CPR to Canada

1987 Researchers pioneer use of clot-busting drug tPA to treat heart attacks

2005 Researchers discover the gene responsible for heart arrhythmias

2015 FAST signs of stroke introduced to help Canadians recognize a stroke and act fast

2015 New stroke treatment cuts deaths by 50%


See our strategy.

See how Heart & Stroke research is saving lives.

Learn the signs of stroke.

Learn how to save a life with CPR.

Our vision: Life. Uninterrupted by heart disease and stroke.

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