New phone app could save lives

The PulsePoint app can be downloaded from both the Apple Store for iOS and from Google Play Store for Android OS

A new smartphone app is set to turn B.C. bystanders into potential life-savers should a sudden cardiac arrest occurs in a public place.

BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) has launched the free PulsePoint application throughout the province. It provides vital information in the case of cardiac arrest, where minutes count in reducing suffering and preventing death.

Smartphone users with Pulsepoint are connected to the BCEHS emergency dispatch system. When a sudden cardiac arrest is reported at a p­ublic location through 9-1-1, dispatchers can send the location to people with mobile devices within short walking distance. A user with training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can then go to the patient and begin CPR while paramedics are en route.

The smartphone alert also shows users a map pinpointing the location of nearby portable public defibrillators, which are another tool that the general public can use safely before paramedics arrive.

British Columbia is the first to have a province-wide program for this public notification service. Pulsepoint also operates in an Ontario municipality and in a number of U.S. counties and cities.

The effectiveness of Pulsepoint will be studied in BC and other parts of Canada and the US to determine whether the app increases public participation in cardiac arrest resuscitation. BC is expected to take part in this randomized, controlled research trial starting in 2018.

The PulsePoint app can be downloaded from both the Apple Store for iOS and from Google Play Store for Android OS

Quick Facts:

  • 3 MINUTES
    The amount of time after a sudden cardiac arrest in which brain damage occurs if immediate help is not available. Sudden cardiac arrest occurs without notice and leaves patients unconscious.
  • 7,101
    the number of cardiac arrests BCEHS paramedics responded to in 2017
  • 25%
    Bystanders performed CPR in approximately 25 per cent of these cases.
  • 10%
    The survival rate beyond 30 days for sudden cardiac arrest in BC is approximately 10 per cent.

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