Resources for Dispatchers and Call-Takers
Studies and Articles
- 9-1-1 Dispatchers Turn Focus to Cardiac Arrest
- Saving Lives from Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Your Community
- Dispatcher-Assisted CPR: What You Need to Know
- A Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association: Emergency Medical Service Dispatch Cardiopulmonary Pre-Arrival Instructions to Improve Survival from Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest. January, 2012.
- Public safety dispatchers enlist public to save lives. Arizona Republic. Nov. 9, 2011
- CPR with Chest Compression Alone or with Rescue Breathing. The New England Journal of Medicine, July 2010
- Compression-Only CPR or Standard CPR in Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest. The New England Journal of Medicine, July 2010
- Dispatcher-Assisted CPR for Patients Not in Cardiac Arrest
- Dispatcher-Assisted CPR and Survival in Cardiac Arrest
- Report on Suspected Cardiac Arrest Audio Recordings, February 2, 2012
- Telephone-Assisted CPR QA Evaluation
Audio File Examples of Telephone-Assisted CPR
Agonal breathing (sometimes called "gasping") represents a brain stem response to a lack of oxygen and is very common in cardiac arrest. Sometimes you can hear a patient's agonal breathing over the phone. In other cases, you can identify it from a callers' description of how the patient is breathing. The following recordings provide examples of the kinds of descriptions callers use. The last ("Audible Agonal") captures agonal breathing as heard clearly over the phone.
- Agonal Described 1: The caller says the patient is "breathing but he's making noises" and goes on to say "he's breathing but he's making humming sound." Notice how the call-taker persists in her effort to ascertain whether the patient is breathing "normally." Asking if the patient is breathing normally (as opposed to asking if the patient is simply "breathing" is extremely important. A caller will report that a patient is "breathing" if the caller observes agonal breathing, yet that patient may very well be in cardiac arrest.
- Agonal Described 2: The caller describes the patient as "gasping for air."
- Agonal Described 3: The caller says the patient is "snoring like he's in a deep sleep."
- Agonal Described 4: The caller says that the patient is "moaning."
- Audible Agonal: You can hear agonal breaths early in the call. It sounds like the patient is snoring. The sound is particularly clear after the caller says, "This is what he's doing, I'll let you listen to it."
Note: Sound clips above provided in Waveform Audio files.
Sample CPR Protocols
Note: Files are PDF format unless otherwise stated.