Cokato Ambulance gets automatic CPR machine

August 18, 2008

Machine to drastically increase survival rate in cardiac patients

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

The Cokato Ambulance Service was recently awarded a $14,000 grant by the US Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

With that – along with money from the City of Cokato ($750) – the ambulance service was able to purchase an automatic CPR machine, according to Carl Harju, volunteer EMT since 1986.

The light-weight, battery-operated AutoPulse, has greatly improved the survival rate for patients in cardiac arrest, Harju said.

How it works is a wide plastic strap is wrapped around the victim’s chest. At the push of a button, the strap contracts and performs compressions for CPR, stopping for the CMTs to give two breaths.

“It’s more reliable and consistent than a person,” he said

It’s especially safer for transportation to the hospital. CMT’s like Harju no longer have to stand while the vehicle is moving.

Survival rate for patients given manual CPR is less than 10 percent. With the automatic CPR machine, the patient survival rate to the point of hospital discharge has increased 235 percent, according to a case study presented to the American Heart Association.

Harju thinks this new technology is great.

“It’s allowing us to provide the best possible care and the statistics show these machines are helping to save lives with CPR success rates rising,” Harju said.

Manual compressions, even when done appropriately only allow for 10 to 20 percent of blood flow to the heart and 30 to 40 percent blood flow to the brain.

With this auto CPR machine, blood flow increases by 33 percent, according to an article in Resuscitation Magazine.

During the Corn Carnival last week, the Cokato Ambulance volunteers were on hand giving demonstrations along with administering free blood pressure tests and hearing different opinions about a new fire and ambulance hall.

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