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Apr 02, 2019

Connected Pulse: bolstering sudden cardiac arrest survival rates & strengthening the chain of survival

Estimated reading time: 5-7 minutes

Featuring a Q&A with Nancy Brown, CEO, American Heart Association 

By: Carla Kriwet, CEO, Connected Care, Philips & Nancy Brown, CEO, American Heart Association


Today we’re staring down some harrowing realities related to heart health: Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of unexpected death globally and accounts for as high as 40-50% of the nearly 17 million cardiovascular deaths a year worldwide.[1,2]  It can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere.


The heart health and prevention conversation is one that both Philips and the American Heart Association have championed for years, which is why we’ve united to launch Connected Pulse, a first-of-its-kind program that combines education, training and technology to increase sudden cardiac arrest survival rates in densely populated cities. 


At the heart of Connected Pulse is increasing CPR awareness, inspiring use of publicly available automated external defibrillators (AEDs), and innovating new technologies to strengthen the “chain of survival” from event onset to emergency room arrival. What makes Connected Pulse unique are the personalized features that meet people where they are in any given situation:  

  • GPS positioning – identifies the nearest available AED and CPR-certified person 
  • Command center application – guides dispatch operators to coordinate care delivery
  • Integration and analytics engine – provides data-driven decision support across systems
  • Education
    o Telephone CPR training –  provides hands-only CPR instructions from dispatch operators until emergency responders arrive
    o Training kiosks – offer interactive touch screens with a 30-second CPR test, currently available in more than 30 high-traffic areas in the U.S., primarily airports
    o CPR in Schools training kit – trains 10-20 students at a time with an easy-to-use content kit
    o Training centers – offer American Heart Association training in more than 80 countries around the world
    o Public Education Training Campaign – drives awareness of symptoms of cardiac arrest and promotes bystander education
    o RQI (Resuscitation Quality Improvement) program – improves in-hospital CPR quality and sets a new standard of resuscitation and patient care (currently in use for 400+ hospitals and 300,000+ health care professionals in the U.S.)


To understand the potential of the Connected Pulse program, we first need to realize that the heart health conversation is rife with myths, which is why I sat down recently with Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association, to answer some of the most common questions about sudden cardiac arrest.

How will the Connected Pulse program strengthen the sudden cardiac arrest chain of survival?

Nancy Brown: The chain of survival involves four steps: 1) alerting emergency medical services, 2) performing CPR on the individual, 3) starting an AED, and 4) activating critical life support, provided by the emergency medical services. 


Through the Connected Pulse program, the likelihood of a layperson being on-hand to administer CPR and use an AED is greater. That’s because we’re providing the ability to immediately locate an AED and nearby lay first responders which can significantly increase survival rates.

What are some of the most common misconceptions about sudden cardiac arrest and how can we demystify them?

Nancy Brown
: Perhaps the most common is that sudden cardiac arrest victims are better off waiting for professional help to arrive. Not only is this false, it’s dangerous – when bystanders use CPR and defibrillation, the victim’s chances of survival can triple to 31.4%.[3] Driving more awareness and training and expanding public access to AEDs can help. Over half the victims of sudden cardiac arrest can survive when treated early with CPR and a shock from a defibrillator.[4]

What is happening to a victim when they experience sudden cardiac arrest and how can bystanders help?


Nancy Brown: In sudden cardiac arrest, the heart stops beating, keeping oxygen-rich blood from reaching the brain. It is often fatal if intervention does not happen immediately and survival is highest when bystanders deliver CPR and defibrillation within three to five minutes of collapse.[5] Your actions can only help and, in fact, bystanders are a critical component in the chain of survival. Therefore, it’s imperative to drive more awareness around sudden cardiac arrest to increase the number of trained bystanders and put fewer people at risk in an emergency.

How will the Connected Pulse collaboration improve sudden cardiac arrest survival rates?

Nancy Brown: Increasing the sudden cardiac arrest survival rate hinges on expanding access to the tools needed to help save lives and develop necessary skills in the general public through training and awareness building. The Connected Pulse collaboration is designed to implement consistently and broadly across communities to train more people in CPR, make more AEDs available and, ultimately, save more lives: Successful programs have produced survival rates as high as 49%.[6] Connected Pulse was created to make it a lot easier for communities to operate these previously complex programs as a single integrated and outcome-focused solution. 

Collaboration will drive better outcomes

Coordinated care outside the hospital is challenging because many places still lack public AED access and CPR-trained bystanders are uncommon. If we replace sudden cardiac arrest myths with facts and drive more awareness around the cardiac arrest problem, we hope to increase survival rates in an emergency.


The combined strengths of Philips and the American Heart Association are delivering customizable and scalable solutions that reach more people and more communities. When knowledge, empowerment, training and resources are the only things standing in the way of saving lives, we can all work together to make a change. 



[2] Global public health problem of sudden cardiac death, Rahul Mehra, National Center for Biotechnology Information, September 16, 2016

[3] AHA Releases 2015 Heart and Stroke Statistics, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation,

September 16, 2016

[4] Koster, R. W., Baubin, M. A., Bossaert, L. L., Caballero, A., Cassan, P., Castren, M., . . . Sandroni, C. (2010). European resuscitation council guidelines for resuscitation 2010 section 2. Adult basic life support and use of automated external defibrillators. Resuscitation, 81(10), 1277-1292.

[5] Kleinman, M. E., Brennan, E. E., Goldberger, Z. D., Swor, R. A., Terry, M., Bobrow, B. J., . . . Rea, T. (2015). Part 5: Adult basic life support and cardiopulmonary resuscitation quality: 2015 american heart association guidelines update for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and emergency cardiovascular care. Circulation, 132(18 suppl 2), S414-S435.

[6] Part 4: The Automated External Defibrillator, American Heart Association, September 16, 2016

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Carla Kriwet

Dr. Carla Kriwet

Chief Business Leader Connected Care

Dr. Carla Kriwet is Executive Vice President and Chief Business Leader Connected Care, and a member of the Royal Philips Executive Committee. 

Click here to read more on Dr. Carla Kriwet

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Nancy Brown

Nancy Brown is Chief Executive Officer of the American Heart Association (AHA).

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