Imagine for a moment, someone collapses in front of you in a store or your living room, and there are no doctors or defibrillators. You have your phone and desperately dial 911. Ambulances, unfortunately regardless of where we put them, will never be fast enough for most sudden cardiac events.
About 475,000 people suffer a sudden cardiac arrest every year. And more than 90 percent who suffer such an event outside a hospital die from it. 90 percent never make it out of the hospital again. Most people do not take CPR training. Or if they do, they don’t brush up on it. And so, most of our population does not know what to do when they witness a sudden cardiac arrest. Most often, the person they cannot help is a loved one.
That's why the American Heart Association is advocating for policy change in Georgia that would ensure 911 emergency dispatchers are trained to provide high-quality telephone CPR (T-CPR or Tele-CPR) instructions to callers for sudden cardiac arrest that happens outside of a hospital environment.
Low-cost and no-cost training options exist for telecommunicators, such as the below examples from Arizona and Wisconsin.
- Telephone-Assisted CPR Training Module - Arizona Department of Health
- Save Hearts in Arizona Registry and Education (SHARE) Training - Arizona Department of Health
- Milwaukee County Dispatcher Assisted Bystander CPR - Medical College of Wisconsin
- Telephone CPR Program Toolkit - Resuscitation Academy
Heart Attack or Sudden Cardiac Arrest: How Are They Different?
People often use these terms interchangeably, but they are not synonyms. A heart attack is when blood flow to the heart is blocked, and sudden cardiac arrest is when the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating unexpectedly.
Two Steps to Save a Life
If you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse, call 911 and push hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of any tune that is 100 to 120 beats per minute. Immediate CPR can double or even triple a person's chance of survival.
T-CPR Time Interval Standards
Telecommunicators are the true, first responders and a critical link in the cardiac arrest chain of survival. It is the telecommunicator, in partnership with the caller, who has the opportunity to identify a patient in cardiac arrest, providing the initial level of care by delivering T-CPR instructions to the caller, and quickly dispatching the appropriate level of help. There are minimal acceptable standards for timely and high-quality delivery of T-CPR instructions by emergency telecommunicators.
Dr. Kurz: "We can turn bystanders into lifesavers"
In April 2017 the American Heart Association's T-CPR Task Force of resuscitation experts, charged with addressing the challenges of providing T-CPR, released a set of recommendations for performing T-CPR and a toolkit for agencies seeking to meet these important metrics. The goal of the AHA and this taskforce is every 911 call is answered by a PSAP ready to provide lifesaving T-CPR. Hear from Dr. Michael C. Kurz, volunteer chair of the T-CPR Taskforce, about the importance of Telephone CPR policy. Listen now.
In the News
"Telephone CPR becomes law in Louisiana"
WAFB, by Elizabeth Vowell, May 31, 2018
"NEW LAW: 911 Dispatchers Can Give CPR Instructions Over Phone"
We are Greenbay, by Joshua Rose, April 16, 2018