Guardian Community Education-Chest Compression Devices

Welcome to Guardian Emergency Training Community Education.  We will be posting monthly articles written by current healthcare providers and related news articles to share some knowledge in our communities.  This month we are going to highlight a piece of lifesaving equipment that is becoming more common on ambulances. They are known as Chest Compression Devices.  We will talk about what they are, how they work, and what the advantages are to having them on your local ambulances.

What are Chest Compression Devices?

Chest Compression Devices are automatic machines that perform chest compressions on patients in cardiac arrest.  They are becoming more common in both pre hospital and hospital settings due to their ability to deliver consistent, correct chest compressions when applied to the patient.  There are many variations of this device by multiple manufacturers. Here at Plymouth Ambulance, we use the LUCAS devices.

How do they work?

These devices work by attaching an automated compression machine to an accompanying hard surface board.  The machine is then manually placed onto the patient’s chest where normally manual CPR would be performed.  Once the device is properly placed, providers will then start the compressions with a push of a button. These machines can also be paused when providers are checking for pulses.  These machines can also be used while defibrillating patients without loss of function.

What are the advantages of having them on ambulances?

The first advantage is the constant compression rate without changes due to fatigue as you would eventually get with manual compressions.  Next is the constant, correct depth of compression which makes sure the body is being as perfused as possible during cardiac arrests. Being able to free up providers so that more life saving measures can be taken also allows for better patient outcomes over manual compressions.