Hands On: Timing Is Everything


Fran Hildwine | | Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Simple device helps prevent excessive ventilations

Have you ever seen a new product appear on the market that was such a no-brainer that you said to yourself, "Why didn't I think of that?" Well, a new product released this past June at the Emergency Cardiac Care Conference in Orlando, Fla., made a few attendees and exhibitors walk around saying just that.

The LYFETYMER LED Metronome, a compact (3.5 cm diameter), 3M adhesive-backed device, is a simple but valuable product: It flashes a red LED every six seconds, coaching rescuers to deliver the right number of breaths to non-breathing patients with pulses and patients receiving CPR who have an advanced airway in place.

The new AHA guidelines note that hyperventilation (too many breaths, or too large a tidal volume) during CPR may be harmful for several reasons. First, the positive pressure in the chest created by excessive rescue breaths actually decreases venous return to the heart and limits refilling of the heart, which therefore reduces the cardiac output created by subsequent chest compressions. Second, large tidal volumes/pressures, forceful breaths and excessive ventilations are also likely to cause gastric inflation and its messy consequences.

If an unresponsive adult patient isn't breathing but has a pulse, the AHA Guidelines recommend rescuers ventilate 10Ò12 times per minute (approximately one breath every five to six seconds). During CPR with an advanced airway in place, it's recommended that health-care providers deliver eight to 10 rescue breaths per minute (approximately one breath every six to eight seconds).

It's hard to mentally time ventilations during resuscitations, and multiple research studies have proven that even though rescuers know they're not supposed to ventilate patients more than 10 times a minute, they still do Û especially as the anxiety of the situation increases. So the inexpensive, disposable LYFETYMER six-second LED Metronome is an important device to help keep crews on the right ventilatory track.

Pull the tab to activate the LYFETYMER.

Affix it to your monitor or a BVM.|The LED Metronome can be affixed via its attached 3M adhesive pad to a bag-valve mask or on your ECG monitor in advance of a call (or anywhere in the ventilating provider's line-of-sight during a call) and activated by pulling out a small plastic tab like you'd find on a new watch or other battery-operated device. Pre-attachment to BVMs and other key equipment items prior to a patient event would significantly increase user compliance.

In addition to its use during patient care, the LYFETYMER is a great training aid. Using it during CPR and ACLS classes will demonstrate just how long six seconds is and provide reinforcement of the need to slow down the ventilation rate.

The LYFETYMER is designed to operate for 24 hours, more than enough time for providers to resuscitate a patient and transport them to a hospital, and the device to remain operable during ED treatment and transfer to the coronary care unit. When we tested them, the LED kept flashing every six seconds for over five days! One affixed to and activated on your monitor may last you multiple shifts.

Impressed? Well this little six-second flashing metronome isn't just an invaluable resuscitation adjunct; it's also priced with budget-conscious services in mind. A box of 25 units costs just $98.75 ($3.95 each), and higher volume purchase discounts can be arranged through Tri-anim Health Services, the exclusive U.S. distributor for the LYFETYMER.

More info: Call 800/874-2646 or visitwww.Tri-anim.com.

Fran Hildwine, BS, NREMT-P, CCEMT-P, is a paramedic lieutenant with Crozer Chester Medical Center in Delaware County, Pa. He's an adjunct faculty member at Delaware County Community College with more than 19 years' EMS experience. Fran is currently pursuing his MBA at Widener University.

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Related Topics: Cardiac and Circulation, Gear and Gadgets

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