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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Feb 24, 2018

Jefferson County Public Health acquires CPR devices

By Jon Gilrain, Ledger Correspondent | Feb 09, 2018
Photo by: JON GILRAIN/Ledger photo Critical care paramedic and director of development for Midwest Ambulance Service Scott Nelson demonstrates how the Lucas CPR Device works.

Jefferson County Public Health recently acquired two Lucas CPR devices that healthcare leaders say will improve outcomes in the county’s response to cardiac-arrest calls.

The devices were acquired in November 2017 with grant funding through the Iowa Department of Public Health and assigned to the county’s contracted Emergency Medical Services (EMS) provider Midwest Ambulance Service, according to Jefferson County Public Health Administrator Christine Estle.

Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation involves assisting a patient in a cardiac arrest situation with both breathing and chest compression to stimulate blood flow. The Lucas CPR device works to automatically maintain the chest compressions which can become irregular and less effective when administered manually by a first responder due to fatigue and other human variables.

Staci Worley, manager of the Jefferson County Health Center Emergency Room clarified, “It’s very hard to make yourself do 100-120 compressions in a minute, stay within the rhythm that you’re supposed to and perform the same depth of compressions making sure that you get good recoil. This takes that hard work, that physical demand out and makes it very succinct and mechanical, providing very good compressions for patients who fit within the parameters of using the machine.”

By automating the most physically demanding aspect of CPR using algorithms scientifically verified by the American Heart Association, the device allows emergency medical responders to address the causes of the cardiac arrest and to apply defibrillation which administers a shock in order to reset the heart rhythm.

“By maintaining blood and oxygen flow to the vital organs good CPR extends the time for first responders to treat a patient in cardiac arrest,” said Worley. “The only proven things that save lives are defibrillation and CPR.”

Scott Nelson, critical care paramedic and director of business development for Midwest Ambulance Service, cited Jefferson County’s excellent response capabilities to cardiac situations, remarking “you have easy access to 911, trained responders and the new Lucas CPR device. You also have volunteer first responder groups around the county equipped with 70 automated emergency defibrillation devices and 12 EKG machines.

“We have hit all of the links on the chain of survival with the addition of this Lucas device,” said Nelson.

The chain of survival refers to a paper published by the American Heart Association outlining best practices for community response to cardiac arrest including early access to the emergency response system, early CPR, early defibrillation and early advanced care by EMS and hospital personnel.

In the short time since the device entered service in Jefferson County, it has only seen action a handful of times, but on all occasions, responders were pleased with its performance and attribute its use to positive results.

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