Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation Position Statement: Using Mobile Technology to Increase Sudden Cardiac Arrest Survival Rates

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is a life-threatening emergency that occurs when the heart unexpectedly stops beating. It strikes people of all ages and can lead to death within minutes if the person does not receive immediate help. Survival depends on the quick actions of people nearby to call 911, start CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), and if available, use an AED (automated external defibrillator) as soon as possible.

The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation supports and encourages the broader use of mobile technology to initiate citizen response and increase the likelihood that CPR and AEDs will be deployed. The most widely used and highly regarded mobile app is PulsePoint Respond, which alerts CPR-trained citizens to nearby SCAs that occur in a public place, directs the citizen responders to the closest AED, and provides a CPR “How-To” from the American Red Cross.

PulsePoint expands cardiac arrest awareness far beyond a traditional “witnessed” area, targeting trained individuals who are close enough to act, but unaware of the critical need nearby, such as on the floor above or in a neighboring business. Because nearly 70 percent of SCAs occur in homes, a new professional version of the application called PulsePoint Verified Responder is being implemented to facilitate response by nearby, off-duty professionals to private homes to further address the time-sensitive nature of SCA.    

The mission of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation is to increase awareness of, and prevent death and disability from, SCA. We believe that by using mobile technology, like PulsePoint, to simultaneously notify nearby CPR/AED-trained individuals at the same time as on-duty first responders, intervention can begin sooner in more cases, and may be of higher quality (e.g., multiple responders, off-duty professionals, etc.), ultimately increasing SCA survival rates.

The SCA Foundation also strongly believes that communities should maintain an accurate registry of all public AED locations and PulsePoint AED, a companion app to PulsePoint Respond, is one such app that can help build and maintain these registries. Use of these registries must include making device location information actionable during emergencies and go well beyond simple record keeping for regulatory purposes. Registries should be available for online public viewing and should be integrated with call taking and dispatch activities.

By engaging the public in a novel way, mobile technology creates a new conversation around the importance of being CPR and AED trained. Our next generation of CPR-trained citizens are app savvy, connected and willing to participate in social networks that provide opportunities to make a meaningful difference. The SCA Foundation believes that reaching critical mass in adopting new technology, like PulsePoint, can lead to improved outcomes with the hope that survival from SCA will one day become the norm, not the exception.

Adopted by Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation Board of Directors, September 12, 2018

Henry Jampel, MD, MHS, Chairman