Can this New Alexa Skill Help Save Lives?

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Alexa, the virtual assistant that powers the Amazon Echo, is capable of performing different tasks for you like playing music, answering questions, controlling your smart home and thousands more, making everyday life much easier.  But this new Alexa skill is not your ordinary skill… it can create a dramatic difference in someone’s life.

According to the American Heart Association News, about 2,200 Americans die from cardiovascular diseases each day and someone suffers from stroke every 40 seconds on average – and 70% of these instances occur at home.  These are the types of emergencies that require urgent treatment and Alexa is here to easily offer assistance.

“Any system that can reliably reduce delays in medical care for cardiac arrest, heart attack and stroke has the potential to improve health outcomes,” said Robert Neumar, M.D., Ph.D., chair of emergency medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School.

So for the first time, the friendly voice behind the Amazon Echo can give all three instructions for CPR, heart attack and stroke warning signs.  To access, just start with the phrase, “Alexa, ask American Heart…”

 “Alexa, ask American Heart … how do I perform CPR?”

 “Alexa, ask American Heart … what are the warning signs of a heart attack?”

 “Alexa, ask American Heart … what are the warning signs for stroke?”

The ability to easily offer assistance is so important and every second is crucial.  Before giving the instructions, Alexa will first tell the user to call 911.

Alexa only offers the steps of HANDS-ONLY CPR for teens and adults: push hard and fast in the center of the chest at the rate of 100 – 120 beats per minute, the same rate as the classic disco song “Stayin’ Alive.”

Note that there are potential hazards when performing CPR in the wrong manner – rib fractures, vomiting and risk of aspiration, as well as internal injuries caused by broken ribs and chest bones from the chest compressions.  Ultimately, the risk of complications is small and the ability to offer urgent assistance through CPR is still the number one priority.