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Early cardiopulmonary resuscitation and use of Automated External Defibrillators by laypersons in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest using an SMS alert service

Annemieke C Scholten, Jeannette G van Manen, Wim E van der Worp, Maarten J Ijzerman, Carine J M Doggen
Resuscitation 2011, 82 (10): 1273-8
21652136

AIM: To evaluate an SMS service (SMS=short message service=text message) with which laypersons are alerted to go to patients with suspected out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and perform early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). This study is the first to report on a program in which an emergency medical service (EMS) is able to alert citizens by sending them SMS messages on their mobile phone.

METHODS: Web-based questionnaires were completed by laypersons who were sent an alert by the AED-Alert system between February 1, 2010 and April 30, 2010. Questions concerned the process of training, receiving alerts, actions taken and follow-up care.

RESULTS: AED-Alert was activated for 52 patients suspected of cardiac arrest, sending 3227 alerts to 2287 laypersons. Out of 2168 eligible laypersons 1679 (77%) completed 2098 questionnaires, one for each alert. Action was taken in only 579 alerts. Laypersons were not in the patient's vicinity (41%), noticed alerts too late (35%), or other reasons (24%). In 298 alerts laypersons faced problems with retrieving AEDs (51%), finding addresses (29%), traffic (5%), or other (15%). Aid was provided in 75 alerts, involving 47 patients. Laypersons started early CPR and defibrillation (49%), assisted EMS personnel (52%), or took care of family (39%). Laypersons arrived before EMS personnel in 21 patients, started CPR and defibrillation in 18, and assisted EMS personnel in 9 patients.

CONCLUSION: Improvements of the SMS alert service by laypersons, the EMS, and through technical adjustments, could increase the number of laypersons who provide early aid.

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