South Central Ambulance Service has become the first to roll out a new device that can automatically perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on a patient.

The state-of-the-art technology, known as LUCAS 3, is a mechanical system that can deliver high quality chest compressions on a consistent basis from the moment crews arrive on scene, and throughout a patient’s journey to hospital without interruption.

This will allow the paramedics to carry out other vital interventions.

Medical Director at SCAS, John Black, said: “We know that delivering high quality and uninterrupted chest compressions in cardiac arrest is one of the major determinants of survival to hospital discharge but it can be very challenging for a number of reasons.

The upgrade is to help paramedics

The upgrade is to help paramedics

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“People can become fatigued when performing CPR manually which then affects the rate and quality of compressions and patients may need to be moved from difficult locations, such as down a narrow flight of stairs, or remote places which impedes the process.

“There are also significant safety risks to ambulance personnel being unrestrained and performing CPR in the back of vehicles travelling at high speed.”

The rollout of the new equipment has been made possible by South Central Ambulance Charity, which is funding 28 of the devices to support crews across Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Hampshire.

The system comes complete with wireless Bluetooth connectivity which makes it possible to configure compression rate, depth, and alerts specific to an organisation’s resuscitation guidelines.

It also means it can collect data that can be reviewed post-event and shared with other clinicians.

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Vanessa Casey, Chief Executive of South Central Ambulance Charity, said: “We are really pleased to be able to fund this state-of-the-art equipment and want to thank our donors – patients, staff, communities, and businesses – as well as NHS Charities Together for making it possible.”

Heart attacks can happen at any time (Pixabay)

Heart attacks can happen at any time (Pixabay)

Professor Charles Deakin, Divisional Medical Director for SCAS and lead for resuscitation, added: “The LUCAS device transforms the management at a cardiac arrest and allows paramedics to focus on the key aspects of clinical care.

“It will be an invaluable part of the team and contribute to the already outstanding results that SCAS has achieved in saving lives of these patients.”

Emergency services attempt resuscitation in around 30,000 cardiac arrests – when the heart stops pumping blood around the body and to the brain – outside of hospitals in the UK every year.