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New Equipment Will Help Wis. EMTs Keep the Beat

MADISON, Wis. -- Keeping the beat can be key to cardiac recovery, so Madison EMTs are getting new equipment to help in cardiac cases.

The Madison Fire Department is getting metronomes to attach to heart monitors, so emergency medical technicians can keep the proper beat when doing chest compressions on cardiac patients.

Fast, consistent chest compressions done during cardiocerebral resuscitation (CCR) are the new protocol for Madison Fire Department EMTs, replacing the traditional cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) technique used for years.

Under CCR, first responders rapidly compress the chest of the victim at 100 presses a minute.

The metronomes, set at 100 tones per minute, are being attached to all heart monitors used by the Fire Department so that the compressions applied to the victim are consistent with the recommended compressions in CCR, said Fire Department public information officer Lori Wirth.

"The timing of the compressions is a critical element to the simplified technique for reviving cardiac patients," Wirth said.

CCR uses chest compressions to get blood flowing and doesn't use mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Dr. Darren Bean, the Fire Department's medical director, received approval from the state to allow the department to revise cardiac victim practices and also to launch a countywide program to improve survival rates for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest cases.

According to Medical News Today, out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is second only to cancer as the leading cause of death in America.

Bean said the program will "target every step in the care of cardiac arrest victims, beginning with community bystanders, police, firefighters, EMTs, paramedics and in-hospital emergency department and intensive care unit care."

bnovak@madison.com

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