On Wednesday, March 25, 2015, lifelong Sunnyvale resident Walter Huber was sitting down to dinner when he received an alert through PulsePoint, a 9-1-1 connected mobile app designed to alert CPR-trained citizens of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) emergencies in their vicinity. This app alert helped save a man's life.
The PulsePoint app displayed a map showing Huber, 21, the location of the emergency, which was based on 9-1-1 call information. Using this map, Huber made his way to the reported SCA patient's location - a soccer field just steps from his home - where he found a man unconscious and surrounded by his teammates. Just minutes earlier the man had collapsed, unresponsive and without a pulse, prompting his teammates to call 9-1-1. Huber, who is CPR trained, immediately assessed the patient and began hands-only CPR. He provided chest compressions until a Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety Officer arrived in a patrol car equipped with an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). The AED delivered a life-saving shock, effectively bringing Farid Rashti, 63, back to life.
"When someone suffers a sudden cardiac arrest, the heart stops beating without any warning so time is critical," said Dr. Chad Rammohan, M.D. medical director of Cardiac Catheterization Lab and Chest Pain Center at El Camino Hospital and a Palo Alto Medical Foundation physician. "It's the 'electrical shock' from the AED that helps to restore the person's heartbeat and it's the mechanical pumping from CPR that helps the SCA victim to recover some blood flow to vital organs such as the brain, heart and the rest of the body."
A family history of heart disease coupled with a 2004 heart attack resulting in quadruple bypass surgery, has led Rashti, a Campbell, Calif. resident, to live a healthy lifestyle. However, while playing soccer on March 25, he was hit by the ball on the left side of his chest. He felt a sharp pain, unlike during his earlier heart attack. He switched to goalie where he could catch his breath when, he recalls "suddenly everything started to go black and that is the last thing I remember." Rashti had suffered a SCA. The only way for a person to survive a SCA is to immediately receive 1) CPR, 2) an electrical shock from an AED, and 3) transport to the closest hospital emergency room.
"Thankfully the PulsePoint app alerted me to someone in need, only steps away, so I could put my training to good use and, as it turns out, help save a life," said Huber, a Mission College student. "The fact that you could potentially save a life with this app confirms how important it is for everyone to learn CPR and download PulsePoint."
"I'm so grateful that I was in public, surrounded by people,"" said Rashti from his home where he's been recovering. "Without my friends calling 9-1-1, the PulsePoint responder starting CPR and the patrol officer shocking me back to life with an AED, I would not be alive today." Santa Clara County, in which the City of Sunnyvale is located, was one of the first counties in the nation to fully integrate this technology with its 9-1-1 system. The collaboration and allocated resources from the Santa Clara County fire departments, the PulsePoint Foundation, El Camino Hospital and tech company Workday, brought this lifesaving technology to Santa Clara County citizens. The coordinated effort by Santa Clara County, Rashti's teammates, the PulsePoint-notified citizen responder and the care provided by the emergency room at Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara Medical Center helped save Rashti's life.
"Every element in this chain of survival was enhanced by quick action and cutting edge technology. All Sunnyvale public safety officers are trained as police officers, firefighters and EMTs so they arrive on scene and immediately bring life-saving support with an AED and first aid equipment," said Steve Drewniany, Deputy Chief of the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety. "It was the quick action by Farid's friends and Walter that set the entire response in motion. You couldn't ask for a better example of how technology like PulsePoint and AEDs can save lives, which is why we're making full use of them here in Sunnyvale."
The PulsePoint mobile app is designed to reduce collapse-to-CPR and collapse-to-defibrillation times by increasing citizen awareness of cardiac events beyond a traditional "witnessed" area. The app also directs users to the precise location of nearby public AEDs. The free app is available for download on iTunes and GooglePlay.
This article first appeared in the May 2015 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.