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When someone’s heart stops beating, there is little time to waste. Half of the people hit by cardiac arrest are outside a hospital, and more than 90% of them die unless they are lucky enough to be near a bystander who can start CPR or call 911.

What if the bystander was a smartphone or a digital assistant like Amazon’s Alexa?


Researchers from the University of Washington tested that idea, training their digital tool to alert such devices to the gasping sounds  — called agonal breathing — that about half of people make shortly after cardiac arrest. Their proof-of-concept study appears Wednesday in NPJ Digital Medicine.

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