Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in the United States, killing 1,000 people per day. Data shows that the first minutes of a cardiac arrest incident are most critical to survival, with each minute without resuscitation decreasing an individual’s chance of survival by 7-10 percent. Often times, paramedics are unable to arrive at the scene until eight minutes after an incident, which is the time it takes for patients to experience irreparable brain damage. Trained individuals, innovative technology, and lifesaving tools are available to empower everyday citizens to help medical professionals save lives, but how do we connect the three to save lives?
Technology allows us to train and empower citizens to take action and save lives. Along with community partners, I launched PulsePoint, a smartphone app that alerts bystanders of cardiac arrest incidents which require CPR as soon as a 911 call is made. To ensure that these bystanders were trained and prepared, I simultaneously expanded Pittsburgh’s community Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) training efforts and passed mandatory registration of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs). This innovative solution has already expanded the number of individuals equipped to respond to cardiac arrest, deploy CPR, utilize an AED, and intervene during the crucial first minutes of cardiac arrest.