Everyday, technology continues to improve the way we live our lives. At the same time, the advances in medical technology are also helping save lives. Say hello to LUCAS the newest tool that is helping emergency crews keep hearts pumping.It's a machine that fits in a backpack. LUCAS not only has a human's name, it's designed to do a human's job, only better.
“It will do your CPR for you so that, you as a human we get worn-out you get tired and you don't do the proper compressions it will continue to do that for you.” Said Becky Jibben, an employee at Avera St. Mary’s Hospital.
When a heart goes into cardiac arrest, a steady supply of oxygen to both the heart and brain is critical. That's what all those compressions are doing.
“Think of it as: heart, brain, heart, brain. So you need to have absolutely perfect compressions every single time in order to maximize that coronary perfusion rate or maximize the amount of blood that is circulating to the brain and then to the heart whenever you are releasing.” said Jill Cruz a LUCAS trainer.
By adding precision to CPR, LUCAS hopes to make heart attacks less deadly.
“It's regular, it's the same depth, it's the same rhythm, it's the same rate where we as people get tired. but it doesn't mean what you're doing is anything less, it just means that this is an extra thing to help increase that survivability chance for the person.” said Candi Zackery, the director of the Emergency Department at Avera St. Mary’s Hospital.
Thanks to the Helmsley Charitable Trust, every EMS service in South Dakota is getting a LUCAS device, something that would normally take an entire year's budget to purchase. However, like any new toy, you have to learn to use it first.
“They really came out in force to make sure that we are going to be experts at this device so when I go back to work this weekend I can show the rest of my coworkers this is how we use it to so that we get the full benefit from it, it's not just a device that maybe sits in the corner and doesn't get used.” said Matt Helling.
Helling is a paramedic with the Rosebud Ambulance Service and is just one of 20 different ambulance services and three hospitals that are getting better acquainted with the new devices. Also on hand was an extra special guest. Dr. Ralph Renger, a professor at the University of North Dakota Center for Rural Health who was monitoring the training and gathering data for cardiac projects in Grand Forks.
“That's what we’re looking at, we are looking at quality improvement in the system can things like the LUCAS device save a minute or buy a minute of time for a cardiac arrest? Because that can mean the difference between life-and-death.” said Renger.
When it comes to heart health, the two states are very similar and share the same goals, LUCAS is just another tool to help reach them.
“It's so user-friendly, I mean you saw yourself, you took a shot at it and you learned it in just a few minutes.” said Renger.
That's the whole idea behind the simplicity of LUCAS. The mantra of training is equally simple: See one. Do one. Teach one.
“Then what we will do is, we will go in turn and train just like you got trained, so we will train our staff so that they have a comfort level that everyone here has today.” said Zackery.
With LUCAS onboard, when it comes to your heart the state is about to become a much safer place to live. If you have any doubts about the LUCAS device, there have been patients who have been hooked up to LUCAS for over 2.5 hours and were neurologically sound when discharged from the hospital. For more information just call 877-AT-AVERA.