Members of the Cattaraugus Area Ambulance Service are training to achieve proficiency in the use of their newest life-saving tool. The device is called the Auto Pulse , and it is reputed to perform CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) up to three times more efficiently than the most highly skilled human technician.
Local emergency responders are justly proud of their latest acquisition. Captain Ken Charles explained, "On a good day a good EMT (emergency medical technician) can get only about thirty percent perfusion. The Auto Pulse gets about 90 percent." Perfusion, in case you're wondering, is the spreading of blood throughout the body by the heart or other means.
The AutoPulse is billed as a "non-invasive cardiac life support pump that moves more blood, more consistently than is possible with human hands." It reputedly provides caregivers better access to the patient, since they can perform other necessary procedures while the machine administers CPR. This can result in improved survival rates for cardiac arrest victims.
Three veteran EMTs from the Cattaraugus Area Ambulance Service watch closely as their most recently certified member, Jim Clendening, works with the newly acquired life-saver, the AutoPulse ®. Here, Clendening pumps air into Half-a-Man Harry’s lungs during an automatic pause in the machine’s strong chest compressions. From left, Sandy Charles, Jim Clendening, Cindy Thayer and Ambulance Captain Ken Charles.
Watching the AutoPulse "do its thing" on the ambulance crew's Half-a-Man Harry, showcased both its strength and persistence. A backboard was fitted under Harry's torso, and the system's LifeBand was fastened in place, where it automatically calculated the size, shape and resistance of the "patient's" chest.
The moment the battery-operated machine was activated, the straps began to tighten and release rhythmically, and with prodigious strength. They provided strong, consistent compressions over the entire chest rather than in just one spot as in manual CPR. At preprogrammed intervals, the compressions stopped and an alarm sounded, reminding EMTs to "puff" air into the patient's lungs through a breathing mask, after which compressions automatically resumed.
AutoPulse didn't come cheap. It cost the Ambulance Service $12,000. In addition, the straps, which are designed for one time use, cost an additional $100 each. However, as the crew worked on Harry, it was obvious that they feel this "muscular" and indefatigable new addition to their arsenal will save lives down the road.