Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
Center for Resuscitation Science

HeartRescue Project

  • HeartRescue Project
  • HeartRescue Project
  • HeartRescue Project
  • HeartRescue Project

The HeartRescue Project, funded by the Medtronic Foundation, is dedicated to improving how sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is recognized, treated and measured in the United States. Penn's Center for Resuscitation Science joins the country's leading experts, including Arizona, Illinois, Minnesota, North Carolina, Washington and American Medical Response (AMR) to identify best practices and systematically reduce the number of people who die each year from SCA.

To learn more about sudden cardiac arrest, please visit:

To learn more about the HeartRescue Project, please visit:

Questions or comments can be directed to:
Dave Buckler

Pennsylvania HeartRescue Project

HeartRescue Project

The vision of the Pennsylvania HeartRescue Project is to work with key partners to establish a statewide infrastructure that ensures every SCA victim will receive life-saving, state-of-the-art care at the scene, en route to and in the hospital. Our mission is to improve SCA survival by 50 percent through:

  • Improved EMS response with high-performance CPR
    • PA Resuscitation Academies
    • High-functioning EMS agency Train-the-Trainer Academies
  • Data collection with the Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival (CARES)
  • Quality in-hospital care
  • Community Outreach and Educational Programs to ensure prompt, high quality bystander CPR

CARES: Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival

CARES Philly Fire Commissioner VisitImproving Cardiac Care to Save More Lives:

Each year, 300,000 cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) occur in the United States. Almost two-thirds are treated by emergency medical services (EMS) providers. Community rates of OHCA survival are generally low (2%–40%). Quickly implementing the "chain of survival" is crucial to surviving OHCA, but many communities cannot measure how effectively EMS providers activate the chain. Without adequate performance measures, these communities lose opportunities to improve emergency cardiac care and save lives.

The Pennsylvania HeartRescue Project provides coordination of the Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival (CARES), which is a secure, web-based data management system created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collaborated with Emory University and the American Heart Association to help increase OHCA survival rates. Communities enrolled in CARES enter local EMS and hospital data and generate their own reports. EMS agencies in Pennsylvania learn more about their system performance through de-identified aggregate statistics at the local, state, or national level and discover promising practices that could improve emergency cardiac care. Cardiac receiving hospitals enter patient outcomes into CARES, which will enable Pennsylvania communities to identify out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rates for the first time.

Helping Communities Identify Opportunities for Improvement

With a goal of increasing out-of-hospital SCA survival, the Pennsylvania HeartRescue Project supports CARES and is committed to assisting EMS, fire, first responders, hospitals, and the larger community to identify:

  • Who is affected
  • When and where cardiac arrests occur
  • Which elements of the system are functioning well and those that could work more effectively
  • How changes can be made to improve cardiac arrest outcomes
  • How emergency cardiac treatment can be improved

Working Together to Improve Emergency Cardiac Care

The CARES system:

  • Uses a secure Web database with restricted access for authorized users.
  • Has software that collects and links data sources to create a single de-identified record for each OHCA event.
  • Uses a simple, HIPAA-compliant methodology to protect confidentiality.
  • Accepts a variety of input methods, such as uploaded data files or online data entry.
  • Collects 9-1-1 computer-aided dispatch data for EMS response times.
  • Allows longitudinal, internal benchmarking of key performance indicators.
  • Provides multiple reporting features, including charts, graphs, and maps.

For more information, please visit

Questions or Comments can be directed to:
Dave Buckler, Pennsylvania CARES Database Coordinator

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Survivor Group

The Pennsylvania HeartRescue Project is launching a statewide Sudden Cardiac Arrest Survivor Group. We invite all Pennsylvania-based sudden cardiac arrest survivors, their families, and friends to be a part of this network!

Cardiac arrest can affect anyone – regardless of age, ethnicity, or health condition. Over 350,000 people suffer from sudden cardiac arrest in the U.S. annually. Survival rates vary in this country from 2% to 50%, in part due to better community, pre-hospital, and hospital response. Early bystander intervention, such as compressions-only CPR and public access defibrillation, can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival.

In Pennsylvania, an estimated 600 victims DID survive a SCA attack in 2013, representing 8% of those that had a sudden cardiac arrest. We feel it is important to bring together these individuals and families who have been through the emotional experience of surviving cardiac arrest, and create a network based on support and advocacy. SCA is a treatable condition, and every victim deserves lifesaving care. As a survivor, you have incredible influence to help others.

To officially kick-off the SCA Survivor Group, HeartRescue is hosting a statewide Sudden Cardiac Arrest Survivor Celebration. We would like you, your family and friends to join us in this celebration and learn about SCA and explore opportunities to improve survival in your community. The event is free and will include lunch, a survivor spotlight, rescuer recognition, and more.

Survivor Celebration Event Details:

Date & Time:  April 25th 2015   12pm - 2:30pm

Location:         University of Pennsylvania
                        Biomedical Research Building, 14th Floor
                        421 Curie Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19104


MN Survivors Network


Several states have created statewide Sudden Cardiac Arrest Support Groups. This photo shows Minnesota’s SCA Survivor Network gathered at the Heart Safe Dinner.


High-Performance CPR Video Contest

Pennsylvania Resuscitation Academy

About the Contest

This year, HeartRescue and the PA Department of Health Bureau of EMS held the first-ever statewide High-Performance CPR Video Contest. We received many creative video submissions from agencies across the state highlighting the terrific work being done to adopt the pit crew CPR model. The winning video submissions are featured in a High Performance CPR training video intended to help all EMS agencies implement the new cardiac arrest protocol. Please check out the High Performance CPR Demonstration Video here:

Congratulations to Centre LifeLink EMS from the Seven Mountains Regional Council, the first place winners of the Video Contest! As their prize, the winning team spent a week in Las Vegas attending the Emergency Cardiovascular Care Update Conference in June. A big shout out to all of our Video Contest winners:

     1st Place: Centre LifeLink EMS
     2nd Place: Marple Township EMS
     3rd Place Tie: Philadelphia Fire Department and Cumberland Goodwill

Thank you to all our video contest participants and keep up the strong work!

Why a Contest?

When we asked agencies what would help implement the new cardiac arrest protocols, many people requested a high-quality training video. So, we are turning to you, the experts, to help create this much needed training tool.

This is your chance to show us what you’ve got. Submit a video of your best team responding to the provided cardiac arrest simulation and compete to “be the stars” as the crew in the video that will be used for statewide and national trainings. And, to further recognize your great work, we are offering exciting prizes!

Ultimately, this contest is about working to provide the best care possible and save more lives. We believe this requires practice, training, education, and quality improvement. Thank you for your participation!


For additional materials to assist your organization, please click here to download a folder that includes:

  • Articles on the science behind High-Performance CPR
  • Pit Crew Models
  • Pit Crew CPR Team Evaluation
  • Pit Crew CPR Time Evaluation
  • Pennsylvania state protocols 3031A and 331A
  • Cardiac arrest checklist
  • NREMT Team Attributes


Please contact us with your questions! Email: or call Nina Li at 215.746.4631 or Liz Heisler at 215.746.4630.

Special Thanks

  • Nathan Harig and Cumberland Goodwill EMS
  • Our HeartRescue Project partners in Arizona, Minnesota, Illinois, Washington, North Carolina, and AMR
  • The PA Department of Health Bureau of EMS
  • Laerdal Medical
  • The Medtronic Foundation

Good luck with your entry and thank you for your participation!

High Functioning CPR Teams: Pennsylvania Resuscitation Academy, Train- the-Trainer, and Provider Training

The Pennsylvania HeartRescue Project Resuscitation Academy is an intensive training course designed to assist EMS managers and directors in identifying and implementing strategies to improve out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival in their communities. The Academy is produced in partnership with the Pennsylvania Bureau of EMS and local Regional EMS Councils, and is geared towards EMS directors, medical directors, and providers. Modeled after the leading Seattle Resuscitation Academy, the PA HeartRescue Project has adapted the course for Pennsylvania and is offering it as either a one or two-day course on an ongoing basis across the state.

Interactive lectures, hands-on simulation exercises, live demonstrations, and break-out discussions enable participants to:

  • Learn the science behind resuscitation and therapeutic hypothermia and how it can improve patient outcomes
  • Implement "High Performance" CPR techniques and how this updated teamwork approach will change the way providers respond to cardiac arrest
  • Develop an action plan for EMS response to cardiac arrest
  • Establish and improve cardiac arrest data integrity through the CARES (Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival) registry
  • Understand how dispatcher-assisted CPR improves bystander response
  • Establish community outreach programs to educate bystanders in CPR and AED use

Resuscitation Academy

As a follow up to the Resuscitation Academy, we also offer a Train-the-Trainer Academy, to further prepare EMS services to operate as High Functioning EMS Agencies.

Tuition is free and continuing education credits are provided upon completion of the course. For more information on upcoming Resuscitation Academies in Pennsylvania, including attending or hosting one in your region, please contact Liz Heisler at or 215-746-4630.


The Pennsylvania HeartRescue Project in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Department of Health have created a number of materials and templates to be used for Train-the-Trainer and Provder Training sessions in support of the statewide EMS protocols for cardiac arrest.These are free and downloadable, and we encourage EMS agencies to download and print copies as needed.To make it easy, we have compiled everything you need for each type of training into a master folder, which you can download below. Or, if you just need one document, we have listed each individual item as well.

Train-the-Trainer Materials

Click here to download the COMPLETE PACKET (zipped folder) of Train-the-Trainer materials.

Or, click the titles below to download each item separately:

For Facilitator:

Provider Training Materials

Click here to download the COMPLETE PACKET (zipped folder) of Provider Training materials.

Or, click the titles below to download each item separately:

For Facilitator:

Resuscitation Academy Materials

Resuscitation Academy

Community Outreach

Community Outreach

Did you know?

  • Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the US, killing more than 350,000 Americans each year, which is more than lung, breast and prostate cancer and AIDS combined
  • The average national survival rate is only 8% and has not improved in 30 years
  • Success begins with public bystanders! Effective bystander CPR can double or triple the chance of survival

Community Outreach

Community education is an important component of the PA HeartRescue Project mission. We work in partnership with key community allies, including EMS, schools, government leaders, health educators, and community groups to raise public awareness on sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). We recognize bystander action as a critical part of improving survival from SCA, and seek to educate Pennsylvanians on how to recognize and respond to sudden cardiac arrest.

Our programs promote these 3 easy steps to help save a life:

If you see someone collapse suddenly, check if the victim is responsive.

  1. Call 911 for emergency assistance if no response.
  2. Start chest compressions immediately
    • Put person on their back
    • Put the heel of your hand on the center of their chest put your other hand on top of the first
    • With your arms straight, push down hard and fast
    • Keep pushing until additional help arrives
  3. Send someone to find an AED (automated external defibrillator) if one is available. Use the AED as soon as it arrives.
    • Remove the victim's shirt, turn on the AED and follow the voice prompts
    • Continue chest compressions after shocking the victim with the AED

To practice these steps, visit the HeartRescue Project Save-A-Life Simulator

For more information about SCA, including education videos, training programs, and resources, please visit the HeartRescue Project Community Resource Tips and Tools.

Community Outreach

Lend a Hand Save a Life CPR Challenge

Lend a Hand Save a Life CPR Challenge

Be a CPR champion in your community. Help us train 1,000,000 people in Pennsylvania!

Pennsylvania HeartRescue Project, the Pennsylvania Bureau of EMS, and the American Heart Association are partnering in a statewide campaign to increase public awareness of cardiac arrest and teach bystander CPR in the community. The campaign is a call to action to EMS providers, health educators, and community leaders to teach the general public about sudden cardiac arrest and train 1,000,000 people across Pennsylvania in hands-only CPR by the end of February 2014.

Click here for more information on the Challenge and to download our CPR Event Resource Packet.

To track your training event numbers and follow progress towards our goal, please visit

Pennsylvania HeartRescue Project has banners, hands-only CPR instruction wallet cards, and resource packets to help spread the word about SCA and CPR. For materials, or questions about how to get involved in community outreach, please contact Liz Heisler at 215-746-4630 or

In the News


Saving Lives in Pennsylvania: HeartRescue Project partners with state for innovative approach to improving SCA survival rates EMS State of the Science 2012 Issue

York Dispatch

CPR Demo Aims to Keep People Stayin' Alive January 2013

The Morning Call

Groups Want to Get 250,000 Pennsylvanians Trained in CPR January 2013


State Launches Hands-Only CPR Campaign January 2013

Selected Publications

Chest Compression Alone Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Is Associated With Better Long-Term Survival Compared with Standard Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation; Florence Dumas, Thomas D. Rea, Carol Fahrenbruch, Marten Rosenqvist, Jonas Faxen, Leif Svennson, Mickey S. Eisenberg and Katarina Boym; Circulation Journal of the American Heart Association, December 10, 2012

Automated External Defibrillator Availability and CPR Training Among State Police Agencies in the United States, Lior M. Hirsch, BS; Sarah K. Wallace, AB; Marion Leary, BSN, RN; Kathryn D. Tucker, BA; Lance B. Becker, MD; Benjamin S. Abella, MD, MPhil; Annals of Emergency Medicine, Volume 60, No I: July 2012

Implementation Strategies for Improving Survival After Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest in the United States: Consensus Recommendations From the 2009 American Heart Association Cardiac Arrest Survival Summit Robert W. Neumar; Janice M. Barnhart; Robert A. Berg; Paul S. Chan; Romergryko, G. Geocadin; Russell V. Luepker; L. Kristin Newby; Michael R. Sayre; Graham Nichol; Circulation Journal of the American Heart Association, May 16, 2011

Small Area Variations in Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest: Does the Neighborhood Matter? Comilla Sasson, MD, MS; Carla C. Keirns, MD, PhD, MS; Dylan Smith, PhD; Michael Sayre, MD; Michelle Macy, MD, MS; William Meurer, MD; Bryan F. McNally, MD, MPH; Arthur L. Kellermann, MD, MPH; and Theodore J. Iwashyna, MD, PhD,for the CARES (Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival) Study Group; Annals of Internal Medicine Volume 153 · Number 1, July 2010

Emergency Medical Service Dispatch Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Prearrival Instructions to Improve Survival From Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association; E. Brooke Lerner, PhD, Chair; Thomas D. Rea, MD, MPH; Bentley J. Bobrow, MD; Joe E. Acker III, EMT-P, MPH; Robert A. Berg, MD, FAHA; Steven C. Brooks, MD, MHSc, FRCPC; David C. Cone, MD; Marc Gay, BA, EMT-P; Lana M. Gent, PhD; Greg Mears, MD, FACEP; Vinay M. Nadkarni, MD, FAHA; Robert E. O'Connor, MD, MPH, FAHA; Jerald Potts, PhD; Michael R. Sayre, MD, FAHA; Robert A. Swor, DO; Andrew H. Travers, MD, MSc, FRCPC Circulation Journal of the American Heart Association, January 31, 2012



    Lance B. Becker, M.D.

    Lance B. Becker, M.D.
    Professor of Emergency Medicine
    Director of the Center for Resuscitation Science

    Benjamin S. Abella, M.D., MPhil, FACEP

    Benjamin S. Abella, M.D.
    Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine
    Clinical Research Director of the Center for Resuscitation Science

    Marion Leary, BSN, RNMarion Leary, MSN, RN
    Assistant Director of Clinical Research

    Dave Buckler

    Dave Buckler
    CARES Database Coordinator

    Nina Li

    Nina Li
    Program Coordinator