CPR texting program saving lives
New research suggests saving a life may only be a text message away.
Researchers at Karolinska Institute in Sweden tested a CPR text messaging system that used a network of trained CPR volunteers who were ready to provide immediate care. When alerted of an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, emergency service dispatchers activated a mobile-phone positioning system, sending text alerts to the CPR-trained volunteers who were within about six blocks of the site of the cardiac arrest.
Preliminary studies have found that CPR performed before the arrival of an ambulance improves the survival of cardiac arrest patients – nearly doubling their chances. The text alert to CPR trained volunteers increased the number of patients who received CPR before the arrival of paramedics by 30 percent, potentially saving many lives.
“Traditional methods such as mass public training, which are now used throughout the world, are important, but have not shown any evidence of similar success [to the text alerts],” said Dr. Jacob Hollenberg , study author and head of the research division at Karolinska’s Center for Resuscitation Science, in a press release. “The new mobile phone text-message alert system shows convincingly that new technology can be used to ensure more people receive life-saving treatment as they wait for an ambulance.”
Seventy-percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen in homes and residential settings, according to the American Heart Association. About 39 percent of people who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest get the immediate help that they need before professional help arrives.
“It is very important that the public receive training in CPR, but we know that we are not reaching the numbers that we would like,” says Jan Berlin, American Heart Association training center coordinator at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill. “This method gives those suffering a sudden cardiac arrest a better chance of survival by alerting a bystander willing to do CPR.”
During the 20-month study, the number of volunteers registered to receive alerts increased from 6,000 to 9,828.
Berlin believes this system, if adopted in the U.S. and elsewhere, could make a significant difference in response time and survival rates by alerting a trained bystander of the situation.
“If a person has agreed to participate, we know that they would be willing to start bystander CPR,” she says.
CPR is short for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and is used when an individual is not responsive and not breathing, according to the American Heart Association.
Hands-only CPR is recommended and involves two steps: call 911 and push hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of “Stayin’ Alive.” During CPR, a person should push on the chest at a rate of at least 100 compressions per minute. The beat of “Stayin’ Alive” is a perfect match for this.
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