Sweden has found a faster way to treat people experiencing cardiac emergencies through a text message and a few thousand volunteers.
A program called SMSlivräddare —or SMSLifesaver — solicits people who have been trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). When a Stockholm resident dials 112 for emergency services, a text message is sent to all volunteers within 500 meters of the person in need. The volunteer then arrives at the location within the crucial first minutes to perform lifesaving CPR. The odds for surviving cardiac arrest drop 10% for every minute it takes first responders to arrive.
“The traditional emergency services, especially the ambulance — they have problems in the Stockholm area,” said Dr. Mårten Rosenqvist, a professor of cardiology and spokesman for the group. “First there are not so many, second there is heavy traffic in Stockholm, and third, they are usually occupied by doing other things: transporting patients to the emergency room, or transporting patients between hospitals.”
With ambulance resources stretched thin, the average response time is some eight minutes, allowing SMS-livräddare-volunteers to reach victims before ambulances in 54% of cases.