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|Last Updated: Monday, November 05, 2012|
LifePak15 Monitor / Defibrillator
The daily work of any first responder many times includes the encounter of patients who are suffering an issue with their heart. In the past, monitoring those patients has had its limitations, but through increasing technology, that is no longer an issue. Many agencies have begun to utilize the LifePak 15 monitor/defibrillator with great effectiveness.
Captain Joshua Stapleton with the Rancho Cucamonga Fire Department, expressed, "The LifePak 15 is one of the most critical pieces of equipment that we carry on our fire engines. This unit is designed to monitor obviously cardiac rhythms. Things that we can't see externally, we have to use machines to be able to see internally."
"This is the pulse oximeter device. This is the probe that we use to measure SpO2. We also have an automated blood pressure cuff which can be set up to cycle however many minutes you want it to cycle - every 3 minutes, every 1 minute, every 5 minutes, and it will also trend. This monitor you can set up to capture if there's a significant change in the blood pressure, a rise of greater than 20 mL of mercury. We can capture that and have that identified and it will alert us that there is something wrong with the patient, something is changing. Of course we also have our defibrillator cables. Hands free system is what all monitors are using at this point now. We have adult and pediatric hands free quick combo pads. This alleviates a lot of the issues that used to arise during manual defibrillation where we used to have to make sure the patient was totally cleared and there was high levels of energy that were being exchanged across the surface of the body. These pads adhere so well that it helps the energy delivery capabilities of the monitor to do a much better job with delivering that energy where it belongs. And that's where it's within the heart muscle itself," explained Stapleton.
Captain Stapleton remarked, "This piece of equipment will continually monitor the 12 lead EKG, or that multi-angled picture of the heart. Instead of just taking one picture and printing it out, every 30 seconds, this device internally takes another picture of the electrical activity within the heart." This especially assists first responders when they are in the back of the ambulance or on scene doing performing different tasks with the patient who is experiencing chest pain. "This machine, if it senses over a few minutes period of time, that there is significant changes taking place within the heart muscle, it will alert us. this is almost a second paramedic on scene with us," added Stapleton.
In addition to the alert systems in the LifePak15, this unit also has a detector for carbon dioxide and can also assist paramedics with its CPR metronome. According to Captain Stapleton, the LifePak 15 is now the American Heart Association's most highly recommended assessment tools to help ensure that firefighters and paramedics have placed endotracheal tubes in the right place and that they have stayed in the right place during the course of treatment or transport.
"It also has a CPR metronome. Essentially, this allows us to 'keep the beat' so to speak when we are doing our compressions," stated Stapleton. Stapleton also claimed that the American Heart Association, through years of trial studies and research, has come to realize that quite often in the pre-hospital environment, because of all the other elements that are going on, the LifePak 15 gives you clear instructions on when a first responder is supposed to ventilate, as well as perform chest compressions.
"This particular tool helps us, whoever is doing the compressions on the patient, to focus strictly on doing those compressions at the proper rate. Between the carbon dioxide detection and ensuring that we do proper compressions at the proper rate, those two things are really the two major pushes right now that the American Heart Association has given us, as pre-hospital providers, to focus on. Those are the things that are gonna make the biggest difference in our patients lives," said Captain Stapleton.
Heart monitoring in the Fire/EMS field is not something new, however, with the advances of the LifePak 15, firefighters have an advantage in properly treating cardiac patients with much more accuracy. Powered by Lithium-ion battery technology, the LifePak 15 also incorporates a SunVue display screen for visibility in bright sunlight, along with data connectivity to easily and securely collect and send patient information.
With LifePak 15's Masimo Rainbow SET technology, this device is able to monitor not only SpO2 and Carbon Dioxide, but Methemoglobin as well. While the LifePak 15 is a hefty investment for any fire department, first responders are finding this unit as an invaluable tool in helping to effectively deal with cardiac patients in the field.
Author:J.R. Ybarra - FDNNTV.com
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