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West Metro Fire to implement new chest compression system for cardiac arrest victims

LUCAS-3 device known globally for assistance
Posted at 2:05 PM, Feb 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-11 12:17:15-05

DENVER – It is often seconds between life and death when someone goes into cardiac arrest.

But soon, West Metro Fire officials will implement new life-saving technology, known as the LUCAS-3 device.

The American Heart Association says nearly 90 percent of people who suffer outside-of-hospital cardiac arrests do not survive. The new machinery aims at improving those odds.

Cardiac arrests are triggered by an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes an irregular heartbeat. It’s reversible in some cases, but only if a person is treated within a few seconds.

This is where the LUCAS-3 device comes in handy.

“Data shows that just humans doing chest compressions -- you know, really after the first minute, you're tired and that blood flow, that really important blood flow that we're looking for really starts to drop off,” Chief Jeremy Metz said.

Metz is the Emergency Medical Service Division Chief for West Metro Fire.

He explained the device essentially takes over chest compressions and frees up the hands of First Responders. Doing so allows rescuers to perform other treatments that are vital to survival.

“This includes defibrillating a heart with a cardiac monitor, advance airway maneuvers so we could breathe for them, and provide life-saving medications,” Metz added.

Victims could see West Metro Fire implement at least five of these life-saving LUCAS-3 devices by March, or in the early part of 2018.

The devices are compact and would assist in spaces where CPR might be difficult and dangerous like the back of a moving ambulance, a helicopter, and tight spaces like the inside of a car or elevator.

Chief Metz said, “Normally, we really wouldn't be able to do that with just relying on humans.”

Metz told Denver7 that the devices cost $12,000 each. According to Metz, the department is seeking grant funding to put more of these units in service.