The Edwardsville Public Safety Committee makes decisions for the good of the city but, as Fire Chief James Whiteford said, the committee is often trying to make good decisions about things they have never seen before. Last week, he wanted to demonstrate one of the recent purchases made by the fire department, a Lucas CPR machine.
The CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, machine was purchased last year. With the purchase, there is now one machine in four of the fire department’s ambulances. The other three ambulances are supplied with AutoPulse machines.
Whiteford and Edwardsville fire department paramedic Chad Lankford demonstrated the mechanical CPR devise on a dummy during the July 13 meeting.
Lankford said that the device is easy to use. It allows for CPR to be conducted without a paramedic, which frees up crew members to perform other life-saving actions such as rescuing a person from a house fire.
Two paramedics that would otherwise be occupied performing CPR would be free to establish airways, administer medication or other actions in a situation of cardiac arrest, Lankford said.
“The only difference in a patient’s outcome is how quickly CPR is done and how well CPR is done,” Lankford said. In most cases when a patient goes into cardiac arrest, paramedics have to move the patient from upstairs or downstairs or from other positions. Paramedics are unable to administer manual CPR while moving or carrying a patient in these scenarios.
The Lucas machine allows efficient and continuous CPR to be conducted in situations where paramedics normally would have to pause the process to move about the structure or outside area.
Unlike the AutoPulse machines, the Lucas machines have straps to keep the patient’s hands up, which gives paramedics easier access to their arms while keeping their arms out of the way.
Lankford said, while the AutoPulses were “kind of the bee’s knees” 15 years ago, the Lucas machines are now the standard in healthcare.
Lucas machines are cheaper, since the AutoPulse machines have a one-time-use band that costs $100 each. The Lucas machine has a suction cup that is reusable, but if it needs to be replaced for any reason, the part costs approximately $15.
Also, the AutoPulses are battery powered, so after about 30 minutes of CPR the machine dies. The Lucas machines run off of electricity and can be plugged in to outlets once paramedics reach the ambulance.
The Lucas machines also allow the paramedics to change the status of the patient, should they need to sit the patient up, flip them upside down or other positions. The AutoPulse machines often have to be paused and reset if a patient is shifted around too often.
There is a wider range of individuals that the Lucas machine will fit when compared to the AutoPulse. The AutoPulse serves patients weighing up to 300 pounds, whereas if the Lucas machine can be physically attached to a patient, then it will supply CPR.
The Lucas machine also decreases the possibility of injury while doing compressions and can be safely used on adolescents. Lankford said there were several instances where the AutoPulse injured a frail patient and caused hemothorax, or blood in the chest area.
“That is an acceptable risk when a patient is in cardiac arrest,” Lankford said. “But still, we want to avoid it.”
The Lucas machine provides a “prettier” view of CPR Lankford went on, explaining how the AutoPulse machine would cause a patient’s head or arms to bounce while in use. The Lucas machine does not cause any sort of jarring that might upset an already stressful situation, especially from the point of view of the patients’ friends or family.
Although the department has had the Lucas machines for about a year, Lankford said the devices are notably more effective at administrating CPR.
The fire department hopes to purchase one Lucas machine each year for the next three years until all ambulances are equipped with a device.
(c)2021 Edwardsville Intelligencer (Edwardsville, Ill.)
Visit Edwardsville Intelligencer (Edwardsville, Ill.) at www.theintelligencer.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.