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Let me through, I have an app! | TIME ONLINE



With a cardiovascular arrest, every second counts. When oxygen-rich blood is no longer pumped through the body, the organs suffer. Particularly sensitive: the brain. After just a few minutes, it will suffer irreversible damage. If the ambulance is called, it arrives on average after almost seven minutes. This is quick, but too late for most patients. Only one in ten survives. The chances of survival, however, increase enormously if family members, friends or other people who happen to be present do a cardiac massage. Basically everyone in Germany is obliged to First aid afford to. The problem is that a lot of people don't know how to do it. Or don't dare to do anything at all.

In Germany, just under 40 percent of unconscious people were kept alive by resuscitation measures until the emergency services arrived in 2018 (Annual report out-of-hospital resuscitation 2018 of the German Resuscitation Register: Wnent et al., 2019), This is a significant improvement compared to 2010 – at that time the so-called lay animation rate was just 14 percent. In other countries like the Netherlands or Sweden, however, the rates are more than 60 percent. It is much more natural for bystanders to intervene until professional first aiders are on site.

The fact that laypeople only start resuscitation in four out of ten cases is particularly fatal because more than 50,000 people in Germany suffer from cardiac arrest every year outside of a hospital. Causes can include cardiac arrhythmia, a heart attack, a stroke or pulmonary embolism. "If more people would immediately initiate resuscitation measures, the chances of survival for patients could double or triple," the Federal Center for Health Education wrote in a fact sheet.

Apps are said to increase the chances of survival

And that's exactly where more and more apps are starting. They have names like "Mobile Retter", "Reanimation.app" or "Emergency Eye" and they can be divided into two categories. Some bring volunteer first aiders to the scene as quickly as possible. In an emergency, the others should tell lay people what to do. Such an app is the first aid app of the German Red Cross, which gives laypersons different instructions depending on the emergency situation. The Reanimation.app is tailored to the case of cardiovascular arrest. In an emergency, laypeople should place the smartphone on the patient's chest and perform a cardiac massage with their hands on the device. And in a rhythm that the app specifies by beeping. According to the developer Alexander Leuchten, the sensors can show the smartphone to the layperson at what frequency he is pressing. And above all, whether he presses the chest deep enough so that the blood circulation gets going again.

Reanimation.app is still in the test phase, says Leucht. However, he hopes to finally be able to scientifically prove that lay people can use the app to perform a more effective cardiac massage than without it. As soon as this is confirmed, he wants to bring the app onto the market free of charge.

However, there are doubts that such apps really make sense. Bernd Böttiger, professor of anesthesiology at Cologne University Hospital and chairman of the Council for Resuscitation, puts it like this: "Lay people who suddenly have to provide first aid are usually totally excited. Often it is also relatives or acquaintances who have upset in such a situation it would be rather difficult to operate an app. " He believes that an empathetic and professional person on the emergency phone who gives meaningful instructions to callers would help better.

. (tagsToTranslate) digital (t) health apps (t) health (t) first aid (t) smartphone


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