App Saves Lives By Connecting People With CPR Training To Cardiac Arrest Victims

App Saves Lives By Connecting People With CPR Training To Cardiac Arrest Victims

When a citizen responder is able to reach a victim before medical professionals arrive, the victim is more likely to survive.

Some of the most powerful applications of technology involve connecting people to one another at the right time, not in real time. When a good idea is matched with solid implementation, remarkable outcomes can follow.

The big idea behind PulsePoint is for local 911 dispatchers to use a smartphone app to alert people trained and certified in CPR that someone nearby is going into cardiac arrest. In that kind of emergency situation, a more rapid response can be the difference between life, death or disability. A citizen trained in CPR arriving and treating a victim before medical professionals arrive increases the chances of the victim’s survival.

If someone using PulsePoint’s Respond app answers an alert, their phone not only shows them a map of where the victim is, it also provides the location of the nearest automated external defibrillator (AED) that will allow them to shock the victim’s heart back into a healthy rhythm.

According to the American Heart Association, less than 8 percent of people who go into cardiac arrest survive. Unfortunately, less than a third of cardiac arrest victims currently receive CPR from a bystander. Performing CPR immediately after a sudden cardiac arrest, however, can double or even triple a victim’s chances of surviving.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in June that evaluated a similar smartphone alert system in Sweden found that dispatching trained volunteers was associated with “significantly increased rates of bystander-initiated CPR among persons with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.”

Even better than CPR, however, is using an AED. If you’ve ever seen a doctor on TV shout “Clear!” and then shock a patient with paddles, you’re familiar with the function of the device, if not its application. Portable AEDs use electrodes that you place on the victim’s skin.

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