MyHeartMap Challenge Inspires Pennsylvanians to Map AEDs

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The University of Pennsylvania has been conducting a contest — the MyHeartMap Challenge — in which participants record locations of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) throughout the state. The purpose of the contest is to raise awareness about the importance and location of AEDs, and to build a statewide database of AED locations.

MyHeartMap Challenge


AEDs are devices that deliver electric shocks through the chest wall. They’re similar to the more familiar defibrillator paddles commonly seen in medical dramas and “reality” medical shows, but they don’t require a physician to operate them. Controlled by computer, an AED can automatically detect the heart’s rhythm, and shocks a patient only if — and when — an electrical stimulation is indicated. The devices are set up to be easy for any bystander to use; they guide users through the operation process using visual and recorded directions.

MyHeartMap Challenge leader Dr. Raina Merchant, assistant professor of emergency medicine and a senior fellow in the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, said:

More and more, scientists are learning that we can benefit from the wisdom of the crowd. Participation from ordinary citizens will allow us to answer questions and make the city safer than our team could ever do on its own.

Used together with CPR, AEDs are an important part of the “chain of survival” needed to save cardiac arrest victims. Many AEDs provide audio instructions that talk user through the process of performing CPR. Thus, even people with no medical training can easily use the device.

Source: Penn Medicine

About the Author

Walter Jessen is a senior writer for Highlight HEALTH Media.