EMS Cardiac Support Pump

By: Tamara Evans
By: Tamara Evans

EMS crews from the Medical Center in Bowling Green respond to cardiac arrest calls almost daily.

Now, to help treat sudden cardiac arrest more efficiently the Medical Center has a new device that they are hoping will save more lives.

It's called the Zoll Autopulse cardiac support pump. It may look like your typical medical device but there's much more to this pump than meets the eye.

For starters, it adapts to a persons chest where it helps sudden cardiac arrest victims regain a normal blood flow to the heart and brain that could save their life.

"Usually when a person is in cardiac arrest they get paler or they may turn blue from lack of oxygen and even with good CPR that color doesn't improve very often. This device however, when you put it on a patient within several seconds it increases their blood pressure so well that their skin looks normal. It's almost like they're going to sit up and talk to us," says Jim Williams, the Field Operations Manager with the Medical Center's Emergency Medical Services.

That's because the Autopulse device does a better job of CPR on a patient than normal people are able to do.

"When a person does CPR, even when you do it 100 percent right, it's only about 25 percent as effective as a persons normal heart beat and with this machine instead of having that 25 percent output from their heart, we've seen anywhere from 80 percent to 100 percent of a normal blood pressure," says Williams.

The device also frees up workers hands. Doing CPR usually ties up one person in the back of an ambulance the entire time so by using this device it allows paramedics to focus on other life-saving interventions.

"Also, it's a little bit safer for us. Instead of having to stand in a moving ambulance we can stay in our seats with our seatbelts on and still be performing all the procedures we need to do for the patient."

The Medical Center's EMS service was the first in Kentucky to get the Zoll Autopulse cardiac support pump.

They purchased three of the machines for nearly $15,000 apiece and have been using them now for a month.

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