Cardiopulmonary resuscitation can save lives but it's useless when those who need it and those who know how to administer CPR are not together. Researchers are hoping to address this problem with a mobile app that sends out alerts to those who know CPR when someone nearby is in need of their help.

According to studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine, early CPR more than doubles chances of survival for people suffering cardiac arrest out of the hospital. When SMS Lifesavers is employed, more patients also receive CPR that saved their lives. The studies were conducted by teams of researchers from the Karolinkska Institutet and the Stockholm South General Hospital alongside the Sahigrenska Academy, Danderyd Hospital and the University of Boras.

In one of the studies, more than 30,000 cases involving out-of-hospital cardiac arrests were analyzed. Based on what the researchers found, CPRs performed before ambulances arrived were associated with more than twice the increase in chances of survival, independent of factors like time period, ECG patterns, causes of cardiac arrest, where it occurred and the sex and age of the patient.

In another study, researchers evaluated a new means of dispatching volunteers, called SMS Lifesavers, trained in CPR when cases of cardiac arrests arise. When SMS Lifesavers were sent, a 30-percent increase in patients receiving early CPR before paramedics arrived was recorded. The researchers worked with 10,000 volunteer civilians from Stockholm County, each one alerted via text message if a cardiac arrest was happening within a third of a mile of their location.

"The new mobile phone text-message alert system shows convincingly that new technology can be used to ensure that more people receive life-saving treatment as they wait for an ambulance," said Dr. Jacob Hollenberg, Center for Resuscitation Science's head of research.

Traditional methods, like training the public to know CPR, are used all over the world but they have not shown the same level of increase in survival rates as SMS Lifesavers and the early administration of CPR they bring.

The studies received support from Norway's Laerdal Foundation for Acute Medicine, the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, the Stockholm County Council and the Heart-Lung Foundation.

Each year, over 300,000 people in the United States suffer cardiac arrests out of the hospital. Without early CPR, only one out of every 10 patients survive, highlighting the crucial role delay between onset of cardiac arrest and treatment involving CPR and defibrillation can be. Typically, cardia arrests occur due to acute myocardial infarctions.

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