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Brothers create device to improve bystander CPR rate

July 5, 2014

What started as a high school science project for two brothers from New York is now a patented medical device that its creators hope will save people from sudden cardiac death.

The young men, John Di Capua Jr., 22, and his brother, Christopher, 18, set out to find a way to improve survival rates for people who suffer heart failure and receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation outside a hospital.

The odds of living through such a catastrophic event are dismal: less than 10 percent of people who get CPR from a bystander live to tell about it. Nearly 400,000 people every year — more than 1,000 each day — receive CPR from a bystander.

“We wanted to see if we could do something to improve bystander CPR survival rates through improved technique,” John Di Capua said. “Even if we could improve the percentage slightly, it would mean a lot more lives are saved.”

The result was a device they built themselves for less than $150 that automatically forces oxygen directly into the lungs of a person in cardiac arrest — eliminating the need for mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and freeing rescuers to do chest compression or use a defibrillator.

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