Who gives the best CPR? Man or Machine? -

Who gives the best CPR? Man or Machine?

With today’s latest technology, tools have been made available for emergency service workers who deliver CPR to their patient’s. CPR is a technique used prior to and in tandem to patient’s who suffer cardiac arrest (heart stops). These CPR tools provide time and elevate the skills of the caregiver to add to the Advance Life Support (ALS) effort. The tools are manual CPR devices which are situated on rescue squads, fire engines, emergency rooms and ambulances around the country, the military, and the world, although not every agency has these devices.

ls are manual CPR devices which are situated on rescue squads, fire engines, emergency rooms and ambulances around the country, the military, and the world, although not every agency has these devices.

The devices that have been making a difference in the delivery of emergency care include The Lucas Device. The Lucas Device has been around for a few years and has been instrumental in the delivery of ALS to patients in cardiac arrest. The latest Lucas Device is the Lucas 3 or version 3.1. The device appears as though it is a robot with Artificial Intelligence (AI), but the truth is Emergency Medical Service (EMS) providers have to apply it and push a button simply, and off you go. The devices follow the standards developed from the American Heart Association (AHA) that is backed by research, and it has a post-resuscitation recording for reports. The longest interruption time is seven minutes, and portions of the device are radiologically friendly. Furthermore, the device is capable of being applied to obese victims and still provide optimal performance.

The AutoPulse is another hands-off device that provides quality CPR for victims in cardiac arrest. The device is easy to apply and have diagrams the depicts where the boundaries are for placement. The AutoPulse is widely used by EMS and fire agencies around the country and easily getting around the world. The device instructions indicate no interruption time, which means that the patient has the best chance for survival. However, the application takes a bit of time to apply unless the crews practice religiously (like the Pit Crews in formula one racing).

There are other devices that will provide adequate chest compressions for victims in cardiac arrest and the choose the one you like depends on the historical use of those devices by the agencies. Some agencies may have found that one is better than the other. However, to have the devices is a step into the future and maintains a level of positive change in the EMS system. On the other hand, there are some doctors and EMS workers who are not happy with the hands-off chest compression delivery devices. The reasons are personal, and with close observation of the many devices in use, an understanding of “don’t use it” is clearly articulated.

When the device is applied, some EMS personnel are not familiar with the workings of the device because of a low call volume area. On the other hand, after the device is applied correctly, it performs remarkably. If the device is not used, the old style and latest techniques of CPR is applied manually. The problem with manual CPR is that the person who is pushing on the chest may have started off with great debt at an acceptable rate but as time goes by, his or her attention is taken from the focal point of chest compressions, and debt is affected along with the rate. The possibility of the Return of Spontaneous Circulation (ROSC) is affected both with manual CPR and using the devices. However, the devices do not get tired, or their attention is not taken from other events in the resuscitation effort.

From a standpoint of observation and being actively involved in the resuscitative effort of patients in cardiac arrest for over forty years, the best of the best turns out to be both the machine and manual CPR, but that is when you have many rescuers who can switch every two minutes and pay attention to what they are doing. Nevertheless, for the EMS team who finds themselves on the scene of a cardiac arrest and there are only two crew members, using the device is a “Godsend” because it frees the crews to perform other much needed ALS procedures. 

It is vital to keep the circulation going by artificial means and interruptions frequently decrease the chance for ROSC which means the victim will not make it or have severe and irreversible brain damage from the lack of circulation. The choice to use the chest compression devices is strictly personal or is a fixed protocol. Nonetheless, hesitation in using it or performing chest compressions effectively is a failure to the victim, their families, and the EMS system. Moreover, keeping up with the movement of technology is a must if the people of this world is to survive what the future has in store for them. We can only guess what that can be but being ready with proper CPR tools and skills to accept the challenge places EMS on the ball field and set to hit a home run.

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