Automated CPR helped us save patient’s life

October 19, 2015 | by Mark Goodwin, M.D.
Categories: Healthy Driven Hearts

Unlike some of the scenes we see on TV and in the movies, doing manual CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is strenuous and tiring. If you're moving a patient from the cardiac catheterization lab to the OR (operating room) while doing manual CPR, the person administering it has to walk next to the bed or climb on top of it. Neither is conducive to the best CPR.

Fortunately, there’s a machine — the LUCAS 2 automated chest compression system — that provides more consistent, high quality CPR and frees up staff to do other things that are also necessary and just as critical to a patient’s survival.

LUCAS 2 is one of the reasons Boleslaw Papiez is still alive today. Back in December 2013, Boleslaw came to Edward Hospital’s ER with chest pain and shortness of breath.

Boleslaw also called his cardiologist, my colleague, Stanley Clark, MD, of Midwest Heart-Advocate Medical Group, who met him in the ER. Dr. Clark knew that Boleslaw needed an angiogram based on tests that had already been done and his worsening symptoms, which were typical of blocked arteries in the chest.

Boleslaw was moved to Edward’s cardiac catheterization lab, where Dr. Clark started the angiogram, which uses X-rays to view the heart's blood vessels. Within minutes, Boleslaw’s blood pressure dropped and his heart stopped working. In the case of someone so critically ill and with so little blood flow to his heart, this is something that’s not unusual. Just an injection of dye into the arteries sent him into arrhythmia and shock.

Our cardiac team began interventions, including manual CPR, multiple shocks, medications and a balloon pump put in by Dr. Clark. In order to transfer Boleslaw to OR for open heart surgery, we needed to establish sustained CPR because his heart was not functioning on its own. The best option for that was the LUCAS 2 automated chest compression system.

We attached the transparent portion of the LUCAS 2 device to Boleslaw's chest where it remained for an hour, performing CPR at a sustained rate and force. Once in the OR, Boleslaw was put on a heart/lung bypass machine, the CPR device was removed, and Bryan Foy, MD, medical director of cardiac surgery at Edward Heart Hospital and cardiothoracic surgeon with Cardiac Surgery Associates, performed successful triple bypass surgery.

"I didn't see the CPR machine, but I'm grateful for it and for the doctors, especially Dr. Clark, Dr. Foy and Dr. Goodwin — that’s why I'm alive,” says Boleslaw. “They made all the right decisions. I'm extremely pleased with the whole team, including the nurses. They didn't stop trying to bring me back."

LUCAS 2 helped ensure that Boleslaw’s brain received sufficient oxygen so that he was spared any neurological side effects, which is unusual after such prolonged CPR. It speaks well of the quality of the technology.

Find out if you’re at risk for heart disease. Take a free five-minute test that could save your life.

Learn more about heart care at Edward-Elmhurst Health.

Mark Goodwin, MD is medical director of Edward Heart Hospital's Cardiac Catheterization Lab, and an interventional cardiologist with Edward and with Midwest Heart-Advocate Medical Group.

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