The longterm survival percentage of patients following cardiac arrest is still very small (in some areas less than 1% of patients suffering a cardiac arrest outside of the hospital survive and are able to eventually walk of hospital and return to their normal lives as lived prior to the cardiac arrest). However, for that 1% much time, training and new technologies for paramedics, nurses and doctors concentrates on improving this percentage and the long-term health benefits of these patients and a mechanical CPR device is one of those new technologies.
Although few interventions in cardiac arrest have been proven through evidence based practice to be of bennefit to the patient, it has been unequivically acknolwedge that without good, effective, CPR the patient has no chance of survival and gaining long-term recovery. According to Murad and Hayward (2008), who conducted a review of clinical trials of the new mechanical CPR device ‘there is no evidence supporting the routine use of mechanical CPR devices in patients suffering out of hospital cardiac arrests.’
So what is this mechanical CPR device and how does it work? There are currently two main mechanical CPR device systems that are currently approved for use in the USA. These include the Thumper 1007 and the Autopulse Resuscitation System 100.
The “Thumper” mechanical CPR device has actually been available to markets since the 1960 and the current version in 2007 the Thumper 1007, includes fully automated compression and ventilator system, which has been seen to show significant improvements in clinical trials involving animals.
In 2003 the medical technologies company, Revivant joined with forces with Zoll to develop and market a new mechanical CPR device called the Autopulse Resusciation System 100. In this system, the mechanical CPR device actually pumps the cardiac muscle at a greater than normal rate/depth to produce a greater cardiac output than is capable in human/paramedic based CPR. It hopes to improve longterm outcomes of patients who would otherwise not have a chance.
As of yet, no Ambulance Service in Austrlia currently has or is trialling a mechanical CPR device.
Murad, A. & Hayward, E. (2008): Is mechanical CPR better than manual CPR? Southmead Hospital, North Bristol. Best Evidence Topics.