New Swedish app could save lives through text messaging

A Swedish mobile app aims to help save lives through SMS by texting people trained in CPR when someone nearby has had a cardiac arrest.

The app, called SMS Lifesavers, sends text alerts to trained volunteers whenever they are less than 500 meters away from someone suspected of having a heart attack, in the hope they may be able to help before the paramedics arrive. Researchers from the Center for Resuscitation Science at Karalinska Institute studied the app for 20 months.

During this time, the app notified of 667 cardiac arrests, but only chose to send SMS alerts to volunteers half the time, so the researchers could measure how effective the text messages were. Early CPR intervention occurred 62 per cent of the time when text messages were sent out, where less than half (48 per cent) of patients were given CPR early when volunteers were not notified, reports

It is entirely possible that a similar app could be rolled out in the UK, in light of its success.

Dr Jacob Hollenberg, study author and head of the research division at Center for Resuscitation, said that while training CPR en masse to people around the world is important, such traditional methods have not been as successful as the text messages.

“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,” he noted.