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AHA CPR guidelines recommend using social media to summon rescuers

Mobile applications like PulsePoint can connect CPR-trained responders to sudden cardiac arrest victims

REDMOND, Wash. — The new American Heart Association’s (AHA) CPR guidelines recommend for the first time that communities consider using social media and mobile app technology to alert CPR responders when someone nearby suffers sudden cardiac arrest.

The new guidelines cite studies that show emerging mobile technologies can result in a “higher rate of bystander-initiated CPR”.

One app, PulsePoint Respond, alerts users when a sudden cardiac arrest occurs in a nearby public place, directs them to the patient location and provides CPR guidance while emergency responders are en route to the call. The app also notifies users of the closest available AED.

The PulsePoint app has been downloaded more than 500,000 times and has alerted more than 16,500 responders to the need for CPR in more than 6,500 suspected sudden cardiac arrest incidents.

The first documented PulsePoint save involved a 57-year old truck driver near Portland, Oregon. The man suffered sudden cardiac arrest outside his gym and received CPR from a PulsePoint responder. In Spokane, Washington, a five-week old infant received CPR from a nearby off-duty EMS volunteer working at his job as a mechanic. In Sunnyvale, California, a 63-year old father of two collapsed on a soccer field and received CPR from a college student living nearby who received a PulsePoint alert on his mobile phone.

“PulsePoint-connected communities don’t need to rely on the luck of having a CPR-trained citizen witness a cardiac arrest,” said Richard Price, president of the PulsePoint Foundation. “By directly notifying those who are qualified and nearby, PulsePoint helps put the right people in the right place at the right time.”