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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 18, 2017

HCHC emergency services acquires new chest compression system

Sep 28, 2017
Photo by: submitted HCHC EMS Operations Coordinator Jacob Dodds (left) demonstrates use of the new LUCAS mechanical CPR device on a patient simulator to HCHC paramedics Taylor Buchholz (center) and Wesley Love (right).

Henry County Health Center now has an important lifesaving tool available to its paramedic crews and Emergency Department staff. HCHC recently acquired the 5 Physio-Control LUCAS 3 Chest Compression Systems. Each of the health center’s ambulances and HCHC’s Emergency Department will be equipped with a device. The LUCAS 3 will benefit patients and rescuers by enabling continuous consistent chest compressions in cardiac resuscitations.

According to the American Heart Association, sudden cardiac arrest affects nearly 500,000 people each year; however, only a fraction of those patients survive to be discharged from the hospital. Despite all of the advances of modern medicine, the only treatments that have been proven to improve cardiac arrest survival are early access to high-quality CPR and defibrillation.

In recent years, survival numbers have increased thanks to the increasing number of lay people trained in CPR, as well as the prevalence of public access automated external defibrillators (AEDs). Manual CPR is physically demanding, making it difficult to provide the high-quality consistent compressions required to maximize chances of survival. Additionally, manual CPR creates inherent risks for paramedics when transporting patients in the ambulance, as they cannot effectively perform CPR while safely secured in a seat. The LUCAS 3 Devices change all that.

The LUCAS device provides mechanical chest compressions at a rate and depth that are consistent with current American Heart Association guidelines for CPR. Both portable and quick to apply, the device works by providing continuous high-quality chest compressions which are critical to maintaining blood flow to save a cardiac arrest patient’s brain, heart and vital organs. The device is battery powered, but can be plugged into a standard outlet for prolonged use. Performance data is collected during each event, which can then be downloaded into a computer for review as part of the medical quality assurance process.

“We are thankful to have our network of first responders to assist us, but in some cases, we may have an ambulance crew consisting of two medics arrive at a patient in cardiac arrest,” said Jacob Dodds, Paramedic and Operations Coordinator with HCHC EMS. “Without these devices, it would be impossible for us to provide the high-quality CPR required to maximize the chance of survival. These don’t tire out like people do, and they free the medics up to focus on other important treatments as part of the resuscitation.”

The devices, which would have cost HCHC approximately $12,000 each, were provided at no cost thanks to the Mission Lifeline Grant Program. The program, which was funded by the Helmsley Family Trust, provided nearly $6 million dollars to the Iowa Department of Public Health to distribute the devices to rural ambulance services and hospitals statewide. HCHC applied for the grant in June, and received the devices just this month.

“Without this grant, it would have been financially difficult, if not impossible to purchase these devices on our own,” said Dan Walderbach, Director of HCHC EMS. “The availability of this grant was a true benefit to our community, and greatly enhances the quality of care provided by our EMS system.”

Since taking delivery of the devices, all staff have been trained in their use and the devices have been deployed to the ambulances, ready to help the next cardiac arrest victim.

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