May 9, 2013—Denver, Colo.—North Washington Fire announced today that it successfully revived a 46-year-old woman who collapsed from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) using the AutoPulse® Non-invasive Cardiac Support Pump. The AutoPulse can improve blood flow to the heart and brain during SCA because of the unique, consistent chest compressions it generates.
Only about 5% of those who experience SCA survive. Joy Garza, 46, is one of the few lucky ones because North Washington Fire used an AutoPulse after she was down for 10 minutes.
According to EMS Chief Dave Baldwin of North Washington Fire, his crews placed the AutoPulse on Mrs. Garza, who lives nearby the station, as soon as they arrived at her house. They kept Mrs. Garza on the device for 15 minutes and shocked her three times with a defibrillator before she regained a pulse and was then transported to North Suburban Medical Center.
“Once a person is in cardiac arrest, every minute counts to get the heart beating normally again,” said Baldwin. “After 10 minutes, survival is very unlikely. Mrs. Garza is one of the lucky survivors.”
“While manual CPR is the standard for providing temporary circulatory support and oxygen delivery during cardiac arrest, it presents physical challenges. Good-quality manual CPR is difficult to provide consistently, and significant decreases in quality can be seen after as little as one minute,” he explained.
“With the AutoPulse, we’re assured of consistent, good-quality chest compressions without interruptions. It can perform chest compressions more effectively than manual CPR. Its ease of use lets us provide chest compressions within seconds. Plus it allows us to focus on other treatments, such as administering drugs and ventilation,” he added.
Baldwin noted that another benefit of the AutoPulse is its ability to perform these consistent chest compressions as rescuers transport a patient. The AutoPulse prevents compression interruptions normally experienced while transferring a patient down stairs or onto a hospital gurney. The AutoPulse also aids in rescuer safety by eliminating the need for manual CPR in a moving vehicle.
According to Joy’s husband, Francisco Garza, he thought he was going to lose his wife of 27 years and high school sweetheart that night. “It’s a miracle I was there that night, explaining that he had been working out-of-town in Pueblo, more than two hours away,” he said.
“We laid down in bed and I turned on the TV. Joy jolted and she fell out of bed. Her eyes were open but there was no response,” he said. “I was scared. I called 911 and the dispatcher had me get the dogs out of the room because they were barking. Next thing I knew, the cops and paramedics were here. They came fast.”
Prior to that night, Joy had no history of heart disease. She was discharged from the hospital and after three months, she’s back to normal. The mother of two and grandmother of four is thinking of resuming her career as a hair stylist.
Alarming Human Toll from SCA
SCA is an abrupt disruption of the heart’s function, which causes a lack of blood flow to vital organs.
Cardiac arrest is a substantial public health problem killing approximately 325,000 persons each year in the U.S. and Canada alone, and as many as a million worldwide. It is the leading cause of unexpected death in the world and strikes without warning. Survival is poor in most communities at less than five percent, and improvements in resuscitation practices could save as many as half of these victims.
About the ZOLL AutoPulse
The AutoPulse is the only mechanical CPR system to have shown improved survival when compared to manual compressions in human trials. It more than tripled survival compared to typical CPR during witnessed cardiac arrest. The only device of its kind, the AutoPulse delivers the high-quality, uninterrupted chest compressions that the American Heart Association Guidelines recommend. It is an automated, portable chest compression system that employs an easy-to-use, load-distributing LifeBand® that squeezes the entire chest in a consistent, uninterrupted “hands-free” manner, improving blood flow to the heart and brain during cardiac arrest. With the AutoPulse, high-quality, uninterrupted CPR chest compressions to maintain myocardial and cerebral perfusion continue to be delivered even when moving patients or traveling in an ambulance.
Nearly 8,600 AutoPulse devices are in use in hospitals and emergency service organizations worldwide, as of February 2013.
About North Washington Fire
The North Washington Fire Protection District was established in 1946 providing service in a 15-square mile area adjacent to the north border of Denver. This area is 40% residential (population 60,000) and 60% industrial (population 45,000). The district includes several high risk locations such as Public Service, Ashland Chemicals, Lockheed Martin, and the Merchandise Mart. In the heart of our district lies the only place in the state where four major interstates intersect (I-25, I-270, I-76, and US 36). The department encounters an average of 2,500 EMS calls and 1000 Fire calls per year. Ambulances respond from three strategically located stations to achieve a 4½ minute response time. Patients are transported to front-range area hospitals. All staff members are trained in EMS, Firefighting, and Hazardous Materials response. The mission of the North Washington Ambulance Enterprise is to provide its citizens with the best EMS care possible.