By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A University of Pennsylvania contest has stirred up interest in rounding up AED’s – or automated external defibrillators – to pinpoint where the portable devices are located in Philadelphia, in emergency situations. The winners received cash rewards.

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What would happen if you were walking down a sidewalk in Philadelphia, and suddenly happened upon a person who collapsed, due to cardiac arrest? Or what if someone in the office, restaurant or store was in distress? Portable defibrillators could quickly deliver a life-saving shock, but where are they?

“We recognized a major public health challenge,” says Penn Medicine’s Dr. Raina Merchant, an emergency medicine specialist.

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She says their aim is to build a database, which will be available to the public, through apps on smartphones.

“For situational awareness, and then to be able to use in the event of a cardiac arrest emergency.”

Dr. Merchant says the MyHeartMap Challenge had a great turnout, as more than 300 participants and teams identified locations for over 1500 AEDs in Philadelphia.

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