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Wash. county begins use of apps to improve sudden cardiac arrest response

Skagit County has begun using PulsePoint Respond and PulsePoint AED to improve the use of bystander CPR

By Emma Fletcher-Frazer
Skagit Valley Herald

SKAGIT COUNTY, Wash. — Skagit County began the use of two apps Monday to help improve the use of bystander CPR and automated external defibrillators.

The PulsePoint Respond app connects to 911. If the call center determines that CPR may be needed in a public place due to a sudden cardiac event, the app sends notifications to nearby app users who have CPR training.

PulsePoint Respond has a companion app, PulsePoint AED, which is a registry of automated external defibrillator locations.

Automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, are user-friendly medical devices that can analyze heart rhythms and deliver an electrical shock if needed.

Community members can report and share a photos of AED locations on the app, so the devices are more easily found in an emergency.

Josh Pelonio, director of Skagit County Emergency Medical Services, said in an email that the department decided to use PulsePoint apps after the apps were successfully used in Snohomish, Whatcom and King counties.

“The more users of the system, the larger the pool of public responders who could potentially start CPR in the event of a cardiac arrest in a public location,” Pelonio said.

Skagit County EMS began working in June 2022 to update its public AED registry for use with PulsePoint.

The map is now available online.

In 2023, Skagit EMS provider agencies responded to about 150 cardiac arrests, according to a county news release.

In about 46% of those events, bystanders performed CPR before emergency medical services arrived. However, none of the events utilized an AED.

Pelonio said for every minute a person in cardiac arrest goes without CPR and defibrillation, their chance of survival decreases 7 to 10%.

“The main goal (of implementing the app) is simple, to improve out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival in Skagit County by getting CPR started and an AED applied as early as possible in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest, even before first responders arrive,” Pelonio said.

Those with CPR training interested in signing up with the app, or those interested in registering AEDs, can do by downloading the apps on Apple or Android devices.

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