Anne Arundel Medical Center and community partners have brought life-saving technology to Anne Arundel County. Working together with the city, the Fire Department and Leadership Anne Arundel, the new PulsePoint app aims at improving bystander response to cardiac arrest victims and increasing the chance of survival.
Here’s how it works: The app alerts CPR-trained citizens to someone nearby having a sudden cardiac arrest so they can help while professional responders are on the way. The app is activated by the local public safety communications center concurrent with the dispatch of local fire and EMS resources. Anne Arundel County residents can now easily download the app and register.
PulsePoint looks to reduce the time between the victim’s collapse and CPR response through citizen awareness. It also increases awareness of public access defibrillator (AED) locations through real-time mapping of nearby devices.
“Heart disease is still the number one killer in the United States,” said Jerry Segal, MD, medical director of cardiovascular services at AAMC. “ Timing is critical in these situations. Bystander CPR is important because it really does save lives. There have been studies done showing that it increases the survival rate in these patients by about threefold.”
The app also shows fire and EMS activity in the community, strengthening community engagement. The app is only functional where adopted and implemented by the local fire/EMS agency because it requires a connection to the local public safety communications center.
“In 2017 there were 534 people in Anne Arundel County who experienced a sudden cardiac arrest and 34 percent of the time bystanders performed CPR before first responders arrived,” said Allan C. Graves, Anne Arundel County fire chief, noting that the launch of the app was happening during the 44th Annual National EMS week. “The launch of PulsePoint is a demonstration of how we are stronger together.”
An example of the potential of the app is Carl Smit, 47, of Annapolis. On Jan. 27, Carl was sailing in a local regatta when he had a sudden cardiac arrest. “I told the woman next to me that I was going to sit down and shut my eyes for a minute,” he said. “I wasn’t breathing or responding but luckily a good friend conducted CPR until they got me to shore. Not a lot of people there were trained on how to do CPR.”
Having someone on site who was CPR-trained saved Carl’s life. And today, he was able to share his story during the launch because of this. “The team at AAMC is amazing. I have to thank Dr. Iliff, Dr. Reineck and Dr. Kilical,” Carl added. “I just graduated a couple of weeks ago from three months of cardiac rehab and it’s fabulous, the team here is outstanding.”
Carl said he felt discouraged in the beginning since most people in rehab were much older than him. “I didn’t know how long recovery was going to be,” he said. “But I started walking on a treadmill and by the time I got out I was already rowing.”
Carl understands the importance of quick response firsthand. He said the app might not only save lives, but also encourage more people to learn how to respond. “I think PulsePoint is going to make a huge difference in the Annapolis area by increasing awareness.”