Queen’s University is teaming up with The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada to test a potentially life-saving smartphone app called “PulsePoint” in Toronto.
The free app has been designed to notify people with CPR training when an emergency cardiac event is happening nearby.
Pulsepoint works in conjunction with the local 911 emergency service – as soon as they receive a call about sudden cardiac arrest, the app can be triggered to send out a text message reading “CPR NEEDED” to all PulsePoint users in the area simultaneous to emergency respondents also being dispatched to the scene.
Participants who receive the alert message can then access a map included in the app to show their current location and the location of the medical emergency.
The map also shows locations of public automated external defibrillators or AEDs. An AED automatically diagnoses issues, including arrhythmia, and uses electrical therapy to stop the arrhythmia.
Currently, the app only sends out requests for assistance to calls in public locations, not to private residences.
As described by the PulsePoint website, sudden cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops beating unexpectedly due to an electrical problem within the heart. It differs from a heart attack which involves clogged blood vessels that prevents blood flow to areas of the heart. The decreased blood flow of a heart attack can lead to sudden cardiac arrest by triggering abnormal heart rhythm.
By calling 911 immediately, starting chest compressions, and/or applying a defibrillator, a bystander can increase the odds of survival for a person in sudden cardiac arrest by up to 80%.
The PulsePoint clinical trial in Toronto aims to determine if this app increases bystander CPR and AED use, and how that action may increase survivability.
The Toronto test plans to use as many volunteers as possible and will focus on health care professionals as participants.
View the PulsePoint PSA (or watch it on Youtube)
Image created from Google Maps and picture on PulsePoint.org