Bernalillo County to use new chest compression tool to help save lives | KOB 4

Bernalillo County to use new chest compression tool to help save lives

Morgan Aguilar
June 20, 2018 05:44 AM

BERNALILLO, N.M. - Bernalillo County Firefighter/Paramedics have a new tool to help them save lives.


Instead of hands-on CPR, they’re now using the Zoll Auto Pulse device. It does manual compressions on patients, which paramedics say is more successful and less traumatic.

"(With) hands-on CPR, you're putting all your force on the heel of your hand and there's a potential to actually cause some damage to the patient,” said Kurt Silva, Lieutenant Paramedic for the Bernalillo County Fire Department. “This is more of a circumferential kind of a squeezing of the chest rather than just pounding on it."

Paramedic Gabe DeBaltz says they will still start with manual chest compressions, but then the device will take over.

"The machine will automatically size to the chest," said DeBaltz.

If a patient moves around or shifts while connected to the Auto Pulse, it’s designed to automatically stop.

“If it senses a weight shift or that the diameter of the chest has increased or decreased from its initial setting, it'll stop and alert the guys that something's wrong because it doesn't want to do compressions over the abdomen,” said DeBaltz.

The Bernalillo County Fire Department has already used the device once. Silva says crews deployed the Auto Pulse on a call at the Sandia Casino, and were able to get the patient’s pulse back.

First responders say the device is safer for them as well.

"Most of the time actually, during transport we'll lose pulses and we'll have to resume CPR,” said Silva. “When that happens in the back of a moving rescue we actually have to stand up, either hold onto a bar with one hand and then do compressions with your other hand while you're getting tossed around in the back, and it definitely is a potential to get hurt, and this takes that out of the equation."

DeBaltz says the Auto Pulse has shown to be 62% more likely to get a patient’s heart beating again compared to manual CPR. The increase could be helpful to first responders in Bernalillo County who are sent to more than 800 cardiac arrest cases every year.

They want to make sure everyone is familiar with the device in case they ever need to use it on them, or their loved one.

“It's been beat into our heads, you know, ‘hands-on CPR, staying alive;’ This actually is a way more efficient way of doing that,” said Silva.


Morgan Aguilar

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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