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

Michael Christopher Kurz, Bentley J. Bobrow, Julie Buckingham, Jose G. Cabanas, Mickey Eisenberg, Peter Fromm, Micah J. Panczyk, Tom Rea, Kevin Seaman, Christian Vaillancourt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E686-E700
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • AHA Scientific Statements
  • cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • emergency medical services
  • heart arrest
  • public health
  • resuscitation
  • survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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