Center for Cardiac Arrest Survival

Center for Cardiac Arrest Survival LogoThe University of Pittsburgh Center for Cardiac Arrest Survival (CCAS) addresses the need for a comprehensive, research-driven approach to reducing mortality from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. CCAS builds off of decades of experience and leadership in cardiac arrest research at Pitt but understands the need to integrate multiple disciplines into the fight, including computer science, social work, engineering, and the community itself. The CCAS mission is to attack all links in the chain of survival, leveraging the skills of this diverse array of partners—from the laboratory to the home—to ensure that research translates into real public health impact. 




Funded by the Hillman Family Foundations, Project LIFESAVER ((Logistics and Informatics For Ensuring Speedy Arrival of Volunteer Emergency Responders), builds off an existing public health intervention executed by Pitt EM in partnership with the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County that deployed PulsePoint throughout Allegheny County. PulsePoint engages thousands of volunteers in a 911-connected system enabling them to be dispatched to public out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) events, alerting them to the location of the victim and the nearest AEDs, and prompting them to perform CPR.

The public version of PulsePoint has worked safely and without incident in our region since 2016, with public participation growing strongly throughout that period. However, an important limitation of the public implementation of PulsePoint is that it misses the majority of OHCA events: those that occur in private locations such as residences. Additionally, we have identified gaps in the network of layperson responders that makes some neighborhoods more at risk than others. Often, these neighborhoods are ones that are already underserved in medicine and, therefore, are at risk for poorer health outcomes.

Following the lead of the most successful, cutting edge programs in Scandinavia and the Pacific Northwest, Project LIFESAVER will add residential dispatch to Allegheny County, using a feature of PulsePoint called Verified Responder (VR) with a goal to improve layperson response to cardiac arrest. Presently, anyone can download and use the public implementation of PulsePoint via a smartphone app. However, PulsePoint VR requires registration and certification, ensuring that responders have a baseline skillset appropriate for residential dispatch. This process also allows for distribution of specialized equipment and training for use in events that overlap with the dispatch criteria for OHCA, including opioid overdose and major trauma.

Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Registry

The Center for Cardiac Arrest Survival, in collaboration with Allegheny County Emergency Services, manages the PulsePoint AED registry for Allegheny County. Maintaining an up-to-date registry allows users of the PulsePoint Respond platform to promptly locate a nearby AED in the event of a cardiac arrest. If you are installing a new AED within the City of Pittsburgh, or would like to report an AED elsewhere in Allegheny County, please fill out the AED entry form below.