SEATTLE -- A heartfelt contest is coming to Seattle, and participants could win up to $10,000.
UW Medicine has collaborated with the University of Pennsylvania to organize My HeartMap, a city-wide scavenger hunt designed to find all the automatic external defibrillators in Seattle.
AEDs are electronic, briefcase-size devices that allow bystanders on scene at a medical emergency to help a person during a heart attack. Dr. Graham Nichol, the endowed chair for pre-hospital emergency care at Harborview Medical Center, said AEDs double a person's chance of surviving a cardiac event.
"Cardiac arrests are a leading cause of death in the United States but can be treated if recognized and responded to quickly with an AED," Nichol said.
UW researchers know of at least 350 AEDs located in public places such as airports, sports clubs and shopping malls, but sometimes bystanders cannot find them during medical emergencies. The My HeartMap challenge aims to change that.
"We are aware of other cities where AEDs were available nearby in an emergency and they weren't used," Nichol said. "We're trying to make sure that doesn't happen here."
Game players will find and report AEDs in community settings throughout Seattle between Oct. 15 and Nov. 15.
A $10,000 grand prize will be awarded to the individual or team that identifies the most "unique" AEDs - meaning a player or team has to be the first to find the AED for it to count toward a score.
The grand prize will be "unlocked" when at least one individual or team identifies 500 AEDs or all contest participants collectively identify 750 AEDs.
There are also 20 pre-selected, unmarked "Golden AEDs" around the city. The first participant to report each of these will win $50.
UW researchers will record the AED locations identified into a database that will be updated periodically.
The contest is modeled after a similar Philadelphia County project at the University of Pennsylvania in which 313 participants reported more than 1,400 AEDs.
"This is an exciting collaboration that could have a real impact on access to emergency care in Seattle and other regions throughout the country," said Dr. Raina Merchant, the University of Pennsylvania assistant professor of emergency medicine who directed the My HeartMap Philadelphia Challenge.
To participate in the contest, go to www.cprnation.org to complete a free registration.