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New CPR App Unveiled By San Diego Officials Monday

San Diego city and county officials Monday unveiled a smartphone application that will alert people trained in CPR that there's an emergency nearby.

Aired 7/29/14 on KPBS News.

The PulsePoint app is designed to get help to victims of sudden cardiac arrest in the critical moments before paramedics arrive. Only 8 percent of such patients survive, according to county officials.

The PulsePoint app is designed to get help to victims of sudden cardiac arrest in the critical moments before paramedics arrive. With every minute a patient has to wait for CPR, the chance of survival drops by 10 percent, officials said.

Tom Johnson is a survivor of sudden cardiac arrest.

"I died eight months ago, while working out at a gym the day after Thanksgiving. Why do I say that? I say that because I went eight to ten minutes without a heartbeat," Johnson said.

Johnson's wife and an off-duty doctor performed CPR for eight minutes until paramedics arrived. Johnson says that saved his life.

San Diego County Supervisor Rob Roberts says PulsePoint will help save more lives.

"Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in our country, and just 8 percent of those who experience it survive," Supervisor Ron Roberts said. "We can do better. This app can help us change these grim statistics."

People who know CPR can sign up for the app, and they'll be alerted when a 911 call for a nearby cardiac arrest patient is made to one of the five fire communications centers in San Diego County.

The region will be one of the largest so far in the U.S. to adopt the system.

The app was developed by the Pleasanton-based nonprofit PulsePoint Foundation and distributed by emergency medical device company Physio-Control Inc. of Redmond, Washington.

San Diego joins more than 500 communities around the nation that have begun using the app.

Information about the app and download links are online.

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