Medtronic Foundation launches online “Save-a-Life Simulator” to promote bystander response for cardiac arrest


The Medtronic Foundation’s HeartRescue Project has produced an interactive, online experience, the “Save-a-Life Simulator,” to promote proper and timely bystander response to sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

First person point-of-view videos put the viewer in the shoes of an everyday mall-goer who witnesses a person experiencing SCA. The “choose-your-own-adventure” style of the interactive experience, which can be accessed at, allows the viewer to decide the fate of the victim by making critical choices, starting with an initial decision to help the victim or ignore the situation.

The HeartRescue Project is trying to instill a basic response mindset: call 911, start chest compressions immediately and use an automated external defibrillator (AED) if available.

Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in USA, which according to the American Heart
Association strikes nearly 400,000 people in the USA each year. Research shows that communities with higher bystander CPR participation have higher sudden cardiac arrest survival rates.

This new HeartRescue Project tool marks the first ever online experience that strings together many of the possible real-world reactions to witnessing sudden cardiac arrest in real time, in hopes that it will encourage people to take action.

“When it comes to responding to sudden cardiac arrest, the worst thing you can do is nothing,” said Michael Sayre, an associate professor and emergency physician with The Ohio State University and medical director of the HeartRescue Project. “This experience was designed to provide a new way of engaging people, encouraging them to learn about sudden cardiac arrest and how to respond by immersing them in a virtual, yet life-like experience.”

In 2011, the Partners in the HeartRescue Project made a commitment to think differently about how to reduce sudden cardiac arrest deaths in the United States. The project assembles some of the country’s leading emergency and resuscitation experts to expand successful city and county sudden cardiac arrest response programmes to statewide levels. The goal is to improve out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rates by at least 50% over five years in the geographies funded by the programme.