No time to waste: AI to fast-track cardiac arrest care

No time to waste: AI to fast-track cardiac arrest care

Supported by a $1.36 million government grant, Monash University and Ambulance Victoria are working hard to improve cardiac arrest survival rates.

A leading cause of death in Australia, cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time, often without warning. For those who don’t receive hospital care, their chance of survival is only 10%. From 2018 to 2019, Ambulance Victoria attended 6,519 cardiac arrest patients – the highest number of cases ever.

Experts from the Faculty of IT are developing AI technology to help triple zero operators identify more accurately and quickly that an emergency call is about a cardiac arrest.

This will help fast-track critical care – and may save an estimated 185 lives every year.

Precious minutes to save precious lives

The AI technology our researchers are creating will run in the background during incoming emergency calls. Monitoring with utmost precision, it will identify keywords, language and sound patterns of the caller that are likely to indicate that a person is suffering from cardiac arrest.

Once signs are detected, the system will immediately alert the operator to dispatch a high-priority ambulance.

In any cardiac arrest situation, the first three to five minutes are paramount. Having AI operating in the background will act as a safety net to help catch the often subtle but vital signs that an emergency call is about a cardiac arrest. By being more proactive, we can reduce mortality rates.’ said Professor Ann Nicholson, Monash lead of this important project.

It will also notify the call-taker to guide people at the scene through CPR or defibrillation. Without these interventions, the patient’s chance of survival drops by 10% each minute that passes.

‘We are always looking for new ways to innovate and deliver the very best and safest care – because all Victorians deserve access to world-class treatment when they need it most. Cutting-edge artificial intelligence will help paramedics get to the scene faster, reducing the possibility of brain damage and increasing the chance of survival.’ said Minister for Health, Jenny Mikakos.