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Mon, Jan. 20

Mechanical CPR promises better survival rates

PRESCOTT – Restoring a heartbeat as soon as possible is the key to survival in cardiac arrests.

Until recently, manual cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) has been the best known practice to keep blood flow to the heart and to the brain when dealing with patients in cardiac arrest.

However, it appears that an automated CPR device now offers better survival rates than the manual approach.

During a recent presentation at a Prescott Fire Department (PFD) station, Dana Ingraham, a ZOLL Medical Corporation representative, said the AutoPulse – an automated, portable device comprised of a backboard and a band that fastens across a victim’s chest – saves lives and keeps the victim neurologically intact.

Unlike the manual CPR, the mechanical CPR provides perfect compressions every time, and it moves more blood to the brain and the heart, she said.

It also frees rescuers to focus on other life-saving interventions.

“We are saving more people with this device,” Ingraham said. “It is very simple to use.”

The board can handle a patient that weighs as much as 300 pounds, she said.

The ZOLL claims that 73 percent of the patients supported with AutoPulse returned to normal blood flow and survived, and 88 percent of the survivors were neurologically normal.

PFD spokesman Jeff Jones said before the agency decides to buy the device – which costs $14,000 – it will try it first for about a month.

“We are going to have three (of them) for the trial,” he said. “They will be strategically placed across the town.”

Jones said that 60 PFD firefighters will learn how to use the device. The Central Yavapai Fire District crew from Station 51 located near downtown Prescott has already received training as well as 12 personnel

from LifeLine.

Jones said the goal is to duplicate survival results of the other departments.

“And if we do, it is well worth the amount of money spent” on the device,

Jones said.

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