News | Published September 28, 2012

LUCAS™ Chest Compression System makes big impact on the emergency medicine arsenal at Mount Nittany Medical Center

From left to right: Mount Nittany Medical Center paramedics Josh Fremberg and David King demonstrate the LUCAS compression system on a manikin.

Keeping the flow up is the goal. Steady, uninterrupted chest compressions are the method. And now, with the recent acquisition of the LUCAS Chest Compression System, paramedics and other Mount Nittany Health first responders can perform the highest quality cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) possible in an effort to save the lives of sudden cardiac arrest patients.

"LUCAS can perform 100 compressions per minute, with the proper depth and strength - it's textbook CPR," said Rich Kelley, NREMT-P, EMS clinical supervisor. Twenty-four paramedics have been trained on the LUCAS, according to Kelley.

Two LUCAS systems were purchased for $13,000 each. Mount Nittany Health employees, through their Annual Employee Giving Campaign, paid for one. "That's how important this device is for our community," said Kelley. "Our employees bought it as a gift," he said.

The other LUCAS device was purchased through funds made available from the Jack E. Branigan Endowment, a fund established in 1988 by friends and family of the former hospital administrator to support emergency, advanced life support, or outpatient services at Mount Nittany Medical Center.

The LUCAS system is light and portable, fits into its own backpack, and can be applied to a patient within 20 seconds. Once the system is securely in place, the LUCAS duty cycle allows for time to push blood to the brain (compression) and then time to refill and perfuse the heart (decompression back to zero). This perfect cycle has shown to increase the flow to vital organs.

"High quality manual CPR is both difficult and tiring, and impossible under certain situations," said Kelley, indicating that studies show that brain flow increased from 40 percent of the normal flow with manual CPR to reach 65 percent of normal flow with LUCAS. When brain flow reaches over 50 percent of the normal flow it could result in return of consciousness during CPR.

"Every person who does CPR does it differently. Some are more proficient than others, and some are stronger than others. In any case, the LUCAS takes out the human variability factor," said Kelley.

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