LUCAS Device Provides Life-Saving Benefits
In 2014, the Marshfield Fire and Rescue Department purchased and placed into service a new piece of proven life-saving equipment: the LUCAS 2 device. In 2015, a generous couple from the City of Marshfield donated the department’s second device. Since then, LUCAS devices have been used on nearly all of the department’s cardiac arrest responses, which average upwards of 50 calls per year.
“We are proud to have added this tool to our first responding ambulance for the citizens we serve in and around Marshfield,” said Fire & Rescue Chief Scott Owen. “Our goal is to get one of these devices on each of our ambulances so no matter which ambulance goes out the door this equipment is available. Right now only the first two ambulances have them.”
An easy to-use, lightweight device that provides quality chest compressions in accordance with American Heart Association Guidelines for CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and assists rescuers in maintaining vital blood circulation in cardiac arrest patients, the LUCAS 2 Chest Compression System is simple to use, slips around a patient, can be applied to a cardiac arrest patient in under 20 seconds, and provides consistent quality chest compressions. The LUCAS is feasible for use in a majority of cardiac arrest patients in most settings and situations.
“Having a LUCAS device in place helps to provide near perfect CPR with regards to compression depth and rate,” said Steve Bakos, Deputy Chief of EMS. “Providing good quality CPR is tiresome work and rescuers are taught to trade out every two minutes to maintain good compressions. Having the LUCAS in place frees up two of our personnel to provide other critical life saving procedures.”
While standard CPR uses chest compression in an effort to pump blood through the heart, uninterrupted compressions allows for better perfusion of blood to the brain and heart. Also, the machine will provide perfect and consistent compressions, while human CPR is often compromised by fatigue and inconsistent rate and depth – potentially contributing to injury.
The LUCAS device not only mechanically pushes down on the chest (compression) but it also pulls up on the chest creating a suction (decompression) to pull blood back into the heart, which in turn maintains blood circulation better than manual CPR, increases operational efficacy, and improves the opportunities to save cardiac arrest patients. The push and pull system allows for a complete recoil of the chest to ensure the blood to can build up pressure that is essential to keeping the brain alive and functioning.
“We’ve seen a huge improvement of getting a pulse back on the patient while on the way to the hospital,” said Bakos. “This gives them a better chance of getting out of the hospital.”
Additionally, the LUCAS device allows rescuers to concentrate on performing additional life-saving interventions without the limitations or difficulties of manual cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), standardizes the quality of chest compressions adhering to the American Heart Association Guidelines for CPR depth, rate and recoil, and allows for effective CPR during patient movement and transportation, while improving rescuer safety.
“The LUCAS machine really frees up the person in the back,” said Owen. “In addition, it’s much safer to have the machine going and have the EMT/Paramedic buckled in instead of bouncing around.”
Due to the success of this life-saving equipment, the department hopes to raise enough funds for at least two more devices. The current machine, the LUCAS 3, has a price tag of about $16,000.
“The goal is to get two more of these units, one for the third and fourth ambulance,” said Owen. “We have a 46% concurrent call rate, which means 2 or more ambulances out at the same time. So, if that 3rd or 4th ambulance goes out and they encounter a cardiac arrest, it’s two people and no machine. As we add ambulances to the fleet, I’d like to see this with the ambulance. It’s be nice to be able to outfit all of them.”
“I believe we have seen an improvement in patient outcome by using this device, and it is our goal to place a LUCAS device on every one of our ambulances,” added Bakos.
For more information on the LUCAS device and to read success stories from across the world please visit their website at http://www.lucas-cpr.com.
Anyone who would like to donate can contact the department at 715-486-2094, which has donation accounts set up right now for various projects.