Tech geniuses may have come up with the perfect app for heart patients out there! They are calling it ‘SMS Lifesavers’ and it’s an on-call mobile system that increases the number of bystanders providing emergency CPR for victims of cardiac arrest when the heart’s electrical stimulation stops working abruptly.
Cardiac arrest is the sudden, abrupt loss of heart function. It’s not the same as a heart attack. Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when electrical impulses in the heart become rapid or chaotic, which causes the heart to suddenly stop beating. A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to part of the heart muscle is blocked. A heart attack may cause cardiac arrest.
Researchers in Sweden used a mobile notification system to locate CPR-trained volunteers in the immediate area to resuscitate people in cardiac arrest before emergency responders could arrive. The findings are published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
“Traditional methods such as mass public training, which are now used throughout the world, are important but have not shown any evidence of a similar increase,” Dr. Jacob Hollenberg, a cardiologist and associate professor at the Center for Resuscitation Science at the University of Gothenberg, said in a news release. “The new mobile phone text-message alert system shows convincingly that new technology can be used to ensure that more people receive life-saving treatment as they wait for an ambulance.”
Patients on a much larger scale companion study of 30,000 patients showed a 30-day survival rate after cardiac arrest of more than 10 percent when bystanders provided CPR, and only 4 percent if they did not.
For this random, blind study conducted in the Stockholm, Sweden, area, researchers created a mobile-phone positioning system that used the same type of technology as GPS tracking and friend-finder apps.
Almost 6,000 people who knew CPR but were not part of the health care system participated initially, and another 4,000 joined as the study went on. When ambulance, fire or police responders were dispatched, the mobile system alerted people in the volunteer network within about a third of a mile.
Bystanders administered CPR before medical responders arrived 62 percent of the time when the system was used. When the mobile system was not activated, CPR was administered before EMS arrived only 48 percent of the time. That’s an increase of 30 percent with the system in place. Creating a mobile app for the U.S. is possible, but, like the Amber alert system, it would require government permissions.
The American Heart Association (AHA) says that immediate and properly-administered bystander CPR after sudden cardiac arrest can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival. However, sadly, only 32 percent of cardiac arrest victims get CPR from a bystander.
Each year, EMS treats nearly 300,000 people who suffer cardiac arrest outside the hospital. More than 92 percent of cardiac arrest victims don’t survive to be discharged from the hospital. In cities where defibrillation is provided within 5 to 7 minutes, the survival rate is as high as 30–45 percent.
This June, in honor of National CPR Week, the American Heart Association is calling on all Americans to learn how to give Hands-Only™ CPR by watching a simple one-minute video at heart.org/cpr. Once you have learned CPR, give 5 people you care about the power to save lives by equipping them to act quickly in a crisis.
Cardiac arrests are more common than you think, and they can happen to anyone at any time. Here are some little known facts about Cardiac arrest:
– Nearly 383,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests occur annually, and 88 percent of cardiac arrests occur at home.
– Many victims appear healthy with no known heart disease or other risk factors.
– Sudden cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack.
– Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when electrical impulses in the heart become rapid or chaotic, which causes the heart to suddenly stop beating.
– A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to part of the heart muscle is blocked. A heart attack may cause cardiac arrest.