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|Last Updated: Monday, November 05, 2012|
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Sudden cardiac arrest (SAC) is the leading cause of death in the United States, with over 325,000 deaths each year. Studies show that one American dies from sudden cardiac arrest every two minutes, and 95% percent of patients die before reaching a hospital. The Zoll AutoPulse, a non-invasive cardiac life support pump, has given emergency first responders an effective method of performing chest compressions on victims of SAC, increasing their chances of survival.
According to Zoll Medical Corporation, manual chest compressions provide only 30 to 40 percent of normal blood flow to the brain and 10 to 20% to the heart. Roy Kniveton, a Senior EMS Territory Manager for Zoll says, "Studies have shown that giving CPR in terms of uninterrupted high quality compressions is very difficult to do just with our hands, and one of the things that has come out in recent years is that pausing is very detrimental to the patient." The Zoll AutoPulse is an improvement over administering manual chest compressions because it increases the patient's blood flow by moving more blood through their body at a more consistent rate, which increases the patient's chance for survival. According to Zoll, the device has been shown to triple the survival rate of patients, and Kniveton says that one of his personal customers has seen over a 50% increase in patients that they have been able to save in the field because of the AutoPulse.
This unique CPR device is battery operated. A patient is placed on its platform, and the patented LifeBand tightens across the person's chest. With the push of a button it measures the chest and begins compressing it accordingly. It constantly measures and monitors the force being applied to the chest and how often to perform the compressions. Roy Kniveton explains, "The band measures the chest and squeezes the chest, displacing it 20%, which is equivalent to your 1 ½" to 2" per the American Heart Association's guidelines."
The Zoll AutoPulse is different from other CPR devices in that it compresses the entire chest, not just a small area, taking advantage of the cardiac pump mechanism wherein the heart is directly squeezed by the sternum and the spine. It also takes advantage of the thoracic pump mechanism as it increases and decreases thoracic pressure to make the patient's blood flow. Kniveton says, "Because it applies a force over such a wide area, it only exerts a fraction of the pressure on the chest that you would with your hands. When you are doing manual CPR or with a device with a small surface you are applying all of the pressure in a relatively small area. The AutoPulse applies it over such a wide area that it is only giving a fraction of the psi on the patient's chest."
There are many benefits to using the Zoll AutoPulse over manual compressions or the use of other CPR devices. First and foremost, it increases the patient's chance of survival by providing high quality, consistent chest compressions. It also allows EMS personnel to continue the chest compressions as they are moving the patient from the scene of the cardiac arrest to the ambulance, even in cases where it is necessary to transport them down a flight of stairs. This gives them the ability to safely perform other life-saving procedures. The AutoPulse also enhances rescuers' personal safety, as they no longer have to stand up to perform chest compressions in the back of a moving ambulance.
Having been in the market for approximately 5 years, the Zoll AutoPulse has become very popular, and many fire and EMS departments have purchased them. As a testimony to its effectiveness and ease of use, Roy Kniveton says, "Once people use it they never want to go back to doing manual CPR again."
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