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B.C. to Test Smartphone App ‘PulsePoint’ for Cardiac Arrest Alerts

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According to a report by Times Colonist, British Columbia Emergency Health Services is launching a new smartphone app ‘PulsePoint’ to expand the pool of potential lifesavers for cardiac-arrest victims, making B.C. the first to test a provincewide program for the public-notification service. The source notes that the app will be connected to the emergency dispatch system.

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For those who aren’t aware, Cardiac arrest is a condition when the heart suddenly stops beating normally and cannot pump blood to the rest of the body, leaving patients unconscious. Without immediate help, a victim of sudden cardiac arrest will suffer brain damage within three minutes.

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, just one in 10 people survive a cardiac arrest when it occurs outside of a hospital. However, survival of such an event doubles when CPR is used with an automated external defibrillator in the first few minutes

Neil Lilley, senior provincial executive director of patient-care communications and planning for B.C. Emergency Health Services, said an alert is sent out as soon as 911 dispatchers select the diagnosis on their computer screens.

App users who have said they are trained in CPR and are within 400 metres of the victim receive the message, which also includes a map of nearby defibrillators. Dispatchers are trained to direct untrained individuals on how to deliver the possible life-saving method, Lilley said.

The app is currently being used in Kingston and Toronto in Ontario and various U.S. cities, including Seattle, where it has been a success, increasing bystander CPR response to 60%.

To find out more and download the PulsePoint app, click here.

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