Steve Lopez, LA Times

August 10, 2014 | by

App could boost chances of cardiac arrest victims

Later this month I’ll be marking the two-year anniversary of my death.

That’s not a line you see too often, is it?

My heart gave out after knee surgery, because of an arrhythmia. Even for those who suffer cardiac arrest in a hospital, the survival rate is low. But I was lucky. A nurse quickly used CPR and brought me back from the dead in less than a minute.

CPR-needed Alert MapLast week while driving to work I heard my cardiologist, Dr. Leslie Saxon, on KNX-AM (1070) talking about a new app that could save the lives of those stricken by cardiac arrest. The Los Angeles County Fire Department is encouraging civilians to download the app and join a growing army of crowd-sourced good Samaritans — 13,000 so far — who can keep someone alive until emergency crews arrive.

Before I tell you how the app works and how simple it is to use, let me tell you why it’s so important.

Cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death, killing more than 1,000 people a day in the United States. The victims, who include children, often have no symptoms and consider themselves perfectly healthy. As opposed to a heart attack (a plumbing problem in which blood flow to the heart is blocked), cardiac arrest is the sudden loss of heart function caused by an electrical malfunction in which the heart’s pumping action is disrupted.

Without CPR — and I mean chest compressions, not mouth-to-mouth resuscitation — death can occur within minutes. That means a five-minute response to a 911 call might be too late.

“It’s going to take a community to impact the dismal survival rates for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients,” Saxon said.

The idea for the app was hatched several years ago by a Bay Area fire chief who thought there must be a way to put the 13 million people with CPR training to better use. So, what if the moment someone dialed 911 in a case of cardiac arrest, nearby civilians could be notified on their mobile phones and do CPR until paramedics arrive?

Richard Price, now retired from the San Ramon Valley Fire Department, helped establish a nonprofit that has now linked its PulsePoint app to emergency systems in about 200 California fire departments and several hundred more around the country. He said the Los Angeles Fire Department may be signing on soon.

“There have been some pretty significant stories of lives saved, directly attributable to the app,” Price said.

Most interventions, so far, have been by off-duty emergency responders who downloaded the app. But as Price points out, any civilian can learn CPR in a matter of minutes. The PulsePoint app itself has a “how-to” feature with a diagram on how to place the heels of the hands in the center of the chest and push down firmly and rapidly, about 100 times per minute.

If you have the app and you’re in the L.A. County Fire Department coverage area, you’ll get a beep on your iPhone or Android device if you’re within one-quarter mile of where the fallen person is. Although it might be best in some cases to simply do CPR until trained responders arrive, a related app will give you a map showing where the nearest portable Automated External Defibrillator, or AED, is located.

Even if you’re not comfortable using one, you might be able to alert someone who is. Not all cases of cardiac arrest call for an AED, but the machines are designed for quick diagnosis, with clear and simple instructions on safe use by lay persons.

Price said it will take some time for the location of all AEDs to be loaded into the app. And it’s going to take some time, as well, for AEDs to become more prevalent. Concerns about cost ($1,200 or more per unit) and legal liability have impeded wider use.

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Bob Roy, a Riverside man whose 14-year-old son, Travis, went into cardiac arrest at his middle school in 2005 and later died, has been lobbying to require schools to have AEDs.

“You’re a hundred times more likely to need an AED than a fire extinguisher, and which of those two are required by law?” asked Roy, who has helped place dozens of the devices in schools through the nonprofit thetravisfund.org.

Former state Sen. Joe Simitian, now a Santa Clara County supervisor, said resistance to AEDs is based in part on fears of legal liability if the devices malfunction. But the technology has improved dramatically since regulations were written, he said, and it may be time to legislatively broaden legal protection for those willing to try to save someone’s life.

More people die each year from cardiac arrest than from lung, breast, prostate and colon cancer combined. And Dr. Frank Pratt, medical director for the L.A. County Fire Department, says it’s time for cardiac arrest to be addressed with the same urgency.

“If this number of people were dying from an infection or a defect in an automobile or a stove, there’d be a national uproar,” Pratt said. “The PulsePoint app gives us an opportunity to reinvigorate the dialogue on the whole public health problem of sudden cardiac arrest.”

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February 14, 2014 | by

El Camino Hospital And Fire Departments Of Santa Clara County Launch Free CPR “Citizen Responder” Mobile Phone App

Citizen CPR, Provided Immediately After Sudden Cardiac Arrest,
Can Double or Triple a Person’s Chance of Survival

PulsePoint Alerts CPR-Trained Bystanders That Someone Nearby May Require CPR

PulsePoint/ECH Special Event Signage

PulsePoint Press Conference

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., February 14, 2014 – Today, residents throughout Santa Clara County will have the technology available to provide assistance to a person experiencing a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) who may be in need of CPR. El Camino Hospital, the fire departments within Santa Clara County and the PulsePoint Foundation announced the availability of the revolutionary PulsePoint mobile phone application to all of Santa Clara County.

“Every day, we treat patients in our emergency rooms that have sudden cardiac arrest. We know that quick action to restore heart function is essential to full recovery,” said Tomi Ryba, president and chief executive officer of El Camino Hospital, “Two years ago, El Camino Hospital provided the funding needed for the non-profit PulsePoint Foundation to enable our fire departments and emergency response systems to make this technology available to our community. This is an important investment to bringing this life-saving technology to Santa Clara County.”

Integrated with the 911 system, the location-based mobile app notifies CPR-trained citizens, who are in the immediate vicinity, of the critical need for CPR nearby. The app also directs these citizen rescuers to the exact location of the closest publicly accessible Automated External Defibrillator (AED). This notification happens simultaneously with the dispatch of emergency service crews to alert bystander response while emergency services make their way to the scene.

“The close collaboration between El Camino Hospital, the fire departments within Santa Clara County, the PulsePoint Foundation and Workday, a tech company, is a great example of how public and private partnerships can benefit our entire community,” said Mike Wasserman, President of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, representing District 1. “Congratulations to all who made today’s launch possible. It’s a point of pride that Santa Clara County is the first county nationwide to have 100% of its residents covered by this technology.”

“The Pulse Point app lets everyday folks make a life-saving difference in those first few minutes when emergency services are on the way,” said Joe Simitian, Santa Clara County Supervisor for District 5. “I’m really pleased this technology is now available throughout the County. Today we’re asking the residents of Santa Clara County to do two simple things – download the PulsePoint app to your cell phone, and learn or brush up on your CPR skills.”

“Today’s launch could not have been possible without the coordinated efforts of nine Fire Chiefs from across Santa Clara County to ensure that our systems would enable citizen responders – no matter where they are in the county –to come to the aid of someone in need,” said Chief Ken Kehmna, Santa Clara County Fire District. “With the aging of our county’s population we can expect that more people will experience sudden cardiac arrest, so we welcome innovative approaches like PulsePoint to improve our collective ability to save lives.”

Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for an estimated 360,000 deaths each year or 1,000 deaths per day. Different than a heart attack, sudden cardiac arrest is caused when the heart’s electrical system malfunctions and the heart stops working properly. CPR or AED use helps restore the heart’s normal rhythm. However, from the onset of a SCA, for every minute that passes without a SCA victim receiving resuscitation, the chances of that person surviving decrease 10 percent. After 10 minutes, chances of survival are minimal. That is why effective bystander CPR provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival.

PulsePoint was developed by volunteer engineers at Workday, a Silicon Valley-based company that creates enterprise cloud applications. The idea came from Richard Price, the former chief of the San Ramon Valley Fire Department who wanted to bridge the gap between the critical minutes following SCA and the 13 million Americans who are CPR trained but don’t often know their skills are required. PulsePoint is being used in more than 525 communities across 17 states. It was launched in San Jose in 2012, where there are currently more than 15,000 devices that have downloaded the app.

The PulsePoint app is available for iPhone and Android and can be downloaded from the iTunes Store™ and Google Play™. For more information about the PulsePoint app and to link to CPR classes throughout the county, please visit: www.elcaminohospital.org/CPRHelpNow

About El Camino Hospital
El Camino Hospital is an acute-care, 443-bed, nonprofit and locally governed organization with campuses in Mountain View and Los Gatos, Calif. In addition to state-of-the-art emergency departments, key medical specialties include behavioral health, cancer care, genomic medicine, heart and vascular, neuroscience, orthopedic and spine, senior health, urology, and the only Women’s Hospital in Northern California. The hospital is recognized as a national leader in the use of health information technology and wireless communications, and has been awarded the Gold Seal of Approval from The Joint Commission as a Primary Stroke Center as well as back-to-back ANCC Magnet Recognitions for Nursing Care.

To learn more, visit our website, find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or view our videos on YouTube. For a physician referral, visit our website or call the El Camino Health Line at 800-216-5556.

About the PulsePoint Foundation
PulsePoint is a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Its mission is to make it much easier for citizens who are trained in CPR to use their life-saving skills to do just that…save lives! Through the use of modern, location-aware mobile devices PulsePoint is building applications that work with local public safety agencies to improve communications with citizens and empower them to help reduce the millions of annual deaths from sudden cardiac arrest. Learn more at www.pulsepoint.org.

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