March 21, 2012 | by

PulsePoint App Coming to Toronto, Canada

HSFO LogoRescu, a prestigious resuscitation research group based at St. Michael’s Hospital and the University of Toronto announced it has received a three-year grant from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario (HSFO) to study the effectiveness of the PulsePoint app. The trial will evaluate the ability of the application to increase bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation rates and automated external defibrillator use on victims of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

Approximately 45,000 Canadians suffer sudden cardiac arrest annually and one Canadian dies every 12 minutes from cardiac arrest. Only 8.4% of patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) survive to hospital discharge. Early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation are key links in the chain of survival. However, only 30% of all OHCA patients receive bystander CPR and only 2% have an automated defibrillator (AED) applied prior to the arrival of emergency medical services. The PulsePoint app uses the location-aware capabilities of GPS-enabled smartphones to link emergency medical dispatch with citizens in close proximity to a cardiac arrest event. Citizens who have downloaded the PulsePoint software to their phone can be alerted when a cardiac arrest victim nearby requires basic life support. The citizen then has the opportunity to provide CPR and apply an AED while EMS personnel are en route. The primary aim of the study is to determine whether an alert sent by the 911 emergency dispatch center to PulsePoint application users in the immediate vicinity of a cardiac arrest is associated with an increased probability of bystander resuscitation.

The grant request was ranked 2 out of 273 applications requesting funding from the HSFO this year. The principal investigator for the study is Dr. Steven Brooks, a clinician-scientist and emergency physician at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and an affiliate scientist at Rescu, St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada (

The City of Toronto is the cultural, entertainment and financial capital of Canada. The Greater Toronto Area is home to more than 5.5 million people and is the center of one of North America’s most dynamic regions. Toronto is the capital city of the Province of Ontario.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, a volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke and reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its application, the promotion of healthy living and advocacy. The Foundation is a federation of 10 provincial Foundations, led and supported by a force of more than 130,000 volunteers. In 2010, the Foundation invested more than $106 million into research, health promotion and community programs. The Foundation currently funds more than 600 researchers and research teams at medical institutes, universities and hospitals.