When someone suffers a cardiac arrest, every minute counts – literally. By some estimates, every minute that passes without CPR reduces chances of survival by 5-10%.

We’ve seen some really interesting efforts that aim to get CPR to cardiac arrest victims faster using smartphones. To help improve rates of bystander CPR, the American Heart Association shifted to a compression only CPR strategy for bystander CPR.

The Duke CPR app is the product of a partnership between the Duke Heart Center and the Women’s Health Initiative to help educate people about compression-only CPR.

The app is appropriately basic in design. It opens with three options: Crisis Mode, CPR Training Mode, and Learn More.


In CPR Training Mode, users are walked through a series of videos that go over why CPR is important and step-by-step guidance on how to perform CPR. Despite the fact that the videos feature Duke athletes, they are well done and include a good combination of animations and live demonstrations. Videos go full screen when the phone is in landscape.

Duke CPR App VideoDuke CPR App Animation
In Crisis Mode, the app gets straight to the point with step-by-step instructions including diagrams and brief, direct spoken instructions. In a nice touch, after checking that the victim is unresponsive, there is a quick dial button to call 911.

IMG_2575Duke CPR App Check Victim
In Learn More, there are several links to sites such as the American Heart Association CPR site and the Duke Heart Center. There’s also a link to North Carolina’s Good Samaritan law. That’s a particularly useful resource and hopefully future versions will expand on this by covering protections for rescuers all over the country.


Another useful addition would be information about pediatric & infant CPR given the app’s goal of improving bystander care for cardiac arrest victims.

  • Price
    • Free
    • Simple, straightforward design
    • Reputable source of information in the app
    • Videos are well done with appropriate combination of live video, animations
    • Crisis mode minimizes time spent in app, gives clear direct instructions
    • Link to Good Samaritan laws
  • Dislikes
    • No guidance on pediatric/infant CPR
    • Good Samaritan information only covers North Carolina
    • Learn More section could be used more effectively with more information on CPR
  • Overall

    The Duke CPR app has a simple design and gets to the point. As a free app from a reputable source, it’s a must have app for anyone not already trained in CPR.

  • Overall Score
  • User Interface

    Simple design is appropriate for the intent, though some improvements could be made

  • Multimedia Usage

    Well done and clear videos

  • Price


  • Real World Applicability

    Addresses a clear need

  • Available for DownloadiPhoneiPad