British doctor develops iPhone app to resuscitate heart attack victims

March 19, 2010 | by | 0 Comments

A British doctor has developed one of the most popular iPhone apps ever – which instructs users how to resuscitate heart attack victims.

The ‘iResus’ uses a series of on-screen prompts to give crucial medical advice in case of an emergency.

Users are asked a series of questions about the victim and are then given step-by-step instructions on how to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

The free application even tells how many chest compressions to perform and when by using a metronome to ensure their timing is correct.

It was developed by Dr Daniel Low, a consultant anaesthetist at the Royal United Hospital in Bath, Somerset, who believes it could save hundreds of lives every year.

The iResus has already been downloaded 5,000 times since it was launched three weeks ago – one of the fastest-downloaded apps ever.

Dr Low said: ”Even though doctors and nurses are trained to deal with someone having a cardiac arrest, it’s not a situation they will face every day and I thought both medics and patients would benefit from an application such as this.

”We have already had inquiries from specialists in fields such as stroke, asthma and anaphylaxis and we are keen to work with other professional bodies to see if we can adapt iResus to distribute their guidelines onto the iPhones of their members.”

Dr Low’s invention was inspired by working alongside ex-military, air ambulance helicopter pilots who use ‘instruction cards’ which guide them through emergencies and reduce the margin for error.

He realised that a similar system could also assist medics, and the general public, when they are faced with a cardiac arrest.

”Even though doctors and nurses are trained to deal with someone having a cardiac arrest, it’s not a situation they will face every day,” he said.

”I thought both medics and patients would benefit from an application such as this.”

Dr Low took eight months to develop iResus with a business partner, an expert in computer software design.

There are two different versions – one designed for use by clinicians which is highly detailed and contains complex medical questions and prompts for administering drugs.

The basic version, designed for use by people without medical training, uses a simple series of yes and no questions to diagnose cardiac arrest has occurred.

It then tells the user whether they should use chest compressions or mouth to mouth resuscitation and even has a metronome to aid timing.

The application is currently being downloaded at the rate of over 1,200 per week.

Dr Low developed iResus in conjunction with the Resuscitation Council, whose former chairman Dr Jerry Nolan described the application as ”fantastic”.

He said: ”Lots of people now have smart phones of one kind or another and to be able to have a device like this, which is constantly updated, accessible within seconds and which automatically replaces old guidelines with new, is fantastic.

”Daniel’s work with the Resuscitation Council shows how medicine and patient care is embracing day to day technology to maximum effect.”

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