Can a text save a stopped heart?

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

Medical tech is increasingly becoming tied to our smartphones.

You know, it’s relatively easy to learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) – a technique used to restart a stopped heart. All you have to do is sign up for a class and learn a few basic techniques. In less than 5 hours, you’ll be ready to help a person who’s suffered from cardiac arrest! And, thanks to Stockholm South General Hospital and Karolinska Institute, all it’ll take to save the day is a text message!

Together, the institutions created a program called SMSlifesavers, which uses GPS to alert CPR-certified individuals when someone’s heart has stopped working. The program is already being used in Sweden, where trained citizens are at the ready to save a life! As David Fredman, project manager for SMSlifesavers explains, “Lots of people in Sweden, as well as in America I guess, are educated and really skilled in CPR, but the problem is lots of people don’t get to use their skills, and we are trying to figure out a way to contact them… using a text message or SMS, seems like a fairly easy idea.”

Well, it definitely wouldn’t be hard, since the process is fairly simple. Say someone called the Swedish equivalent of 911. If the operator believes the person’s heart is in danger of stopping, they send out an alert to SMSlifesavers. Anyone in range can swiftly head over to the location and put their skills to use. As Fredman says, the technique is also simplified, and a person doesn’t even need a smartphone to participate – just a kind heart that’s trained to bring weak ones back from the brink!

Image of smartphones courtesy of Phil Roeder on Flickr.