Telecommunicator Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation: A Policy Statement from the American Heart Association

Academic Article


  • Every year in the United States, >350 000 people have sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital environment. Sudden cardiac arrest is the unexpected loss of heart function, breathing, and consciousness and is commonly the result of an electric disturbance in the heart. Unfortunately, only ≈1 in 10 victims survives this dramatic event. Early access to 9-1-1 and early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) are the first 2 links in the chain of survival for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Although 9-1-1 is frequently accessed, in the majority of cases, individuals with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest do not receive lay rescuer CPR and wait for the arrival of professional emergency rescuers. Telecommunicators are the true first responders and a critical link in the cardiac arrest chain of survival. In partnership with the 9-1-1 caller, telecommunicators have the first opportunity to identify a patient in cardiac arrest and provide initial care by delivering CPR instructions while quickly dispatching emergency medical services. The telecommunicator and the caller form a unique team in which the expertise of the telecommunicator is provided just in time to a willing caller, transforming the caller into a lay rescuer delivering CPR. The telecommunicator CPR (T-CPR) process, also previously described as dispatch CPR, dispatch-assisted CPR, or telephone CPR, represents an important opportunity to improve survival from sudden cardiac arrest. Conversely, failure to provide T-CPR in this manner results in preventable harm. This statement describes the public health impact of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, provides guidance and resources to construct and maintain a T-CPR program, outlines the minimal acceptable standards for timely and high-quality delivery of T-CPR instructions, and identifies strategies to overcome common implementation barriers to T-CPR.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Circulation  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Kurz MC; Bobrow BJ; Buckingham J; Cabanas JG; Eisenberg M; Fromm P; Panczyk MJ; Rea T; Seaman K; Vaillancourt C
  • Start Page

  • E686
  • End Page

  • E700