Jan. 16, 2014 PLYMOUTH EAGLE.
The Wayne-Westland Fire Department has taken another step into the future as the EMTs begin testing an automated device designed to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation for victims of sudden cardiac arrest, freeing up first responders’ hands to perform other necessary medical tasks.
According to Assistant Chief John Adams, the device is now being evaluated by the Wayne- Westland medical responders as part of the Tdepartmental involvement as the Test Department for the Medical Control Board of Western Wayne County.
“We (Wayne-Westland) are the fifth busiest department in the state, so when you look at the likelihood that we will experience one of these cardiac events, it is more probable it will be here,” Adams said.
The department will now be equipped with the new life-saving technology, the ZOLL Autopulse Non-invasive Cardiac Support Pump, or Autopulse as the medical rescue specialists refer to the machine.
The Autopulse is designed with a lifeband which fits around the chest of a patient who has gone into cardiac arrest, applying mechanical resuscitation to the patient. The Autopulse first measures the chest in order to apply perfect force and pressure to each individual, based on the American Heart Association guidelines. It then performs consistent compressions. This consistency has been attributed to saving numerous lives of cardiac arrest victims, according to Wayne Westland Fire Chief Michael Reddy.
“Our goal is to protect the lives of Wayne and Westland citizens, and this purchase is an important step in helping to achieve that goal,” said Reddy. “I have been a professional first responder for more than 21 years, and I have never seen a device that does what the Autopulse does.”
Adams said the devices, which can range in cost from $2,500 to $8,000, are not yet in widespread use, partly due to the cost. He said that Westland is working on several grant sources for funding of the devices.
Adams said that while the Autopulse provides the necessary resuscitation compressions, the EMT has his or her hands free to provide the needed ventilation and medication therapy that can be the difference between life and death.
With consistent compressions, the Autopulse increases blood flow by moving more blood, consistently increasing the chances of survival. The manual cardiopulmonary resuscitation also helps improve rescuer safety, as they don’t have to stand up and perform CPR in the back of a moving ambulance.
“Once a person is in cardiac arrest, every minute counts to get the heart beating normally again,” said Reddy. “For every minute that passes the chance of survival decreases by 10 percent. After 10 minutes, survival is unlikely. With the Autopulse we are better pre- pared to deal with cardiac arrest.”
Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in the United States, killing one American every two minutes. It is estimated that 95 percent of victims of cardiac arrest die before they reach a hospital or other source of emergency response center. Sudden cardiac arrest-related deaths are not for lack of trying on responders’ parts, however, manual chest compressions often come up short, with pauses in compression being detrimental to the patient, Reddy explained.
The Autopulse has been on the market for five years, and is used consistently in life-saving events throughout the U.S. and around the world, Reddy said.
“The use of the Autopulse was a no-brainer for the city. It improves CPR techniques to aid our fire fighters in saving the lives of residents and it improves safety for our rescuers. It is a win-win,” said Westland Mayor William Wild.
Adams noted that this is part of what he described as the continued and serious effort of both Reddy and Wild to provide the best service possible to the citizens of Wayne and Westland.
“Our goal is to lead the way and assist our residents by providing the best possible service we can. The chief has made it clear we need to provide the best service possible and the mayor has been instrumental in that effort.
“This equipment will help provide the best possible outcome for our residents,” Adams said.
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