Council Briefed on EMS Addition

OCEAN CITY- The Mayor and City Council was given a demonstration of the Zoll Auto Pulse system this week, in an effort to educate the town on the EMS division’s most recent technological advances.

The Zoll Auto Pulse is a non-invasive cardiac support pump, designed to provide consistent chest compressions for an individual undergoing sudden cardiac arrest.

“It essentially does CPR for us, allowing us to do other things,” explained Captain Chuck Barton.

In the instance of cardiac arrest, the victim is strapped to the Zoll Auto Pulse board. A LifeBand is then electronically fitted to the individual’s chest and chest compressions commence.

According to the Zoll Auto Pulse website, manual, by-hand, compressions only provide 10 to 20 percent of normal blood flow to the heart and only 30 to 40 percent of blood flow to the brain. The high-quality compressions of the Zoll Auto Pulse provide more consistent compressions, delivering an improved blood flow to the heart and brain.

The machine, which is battery-run, also allows for EMS crews to provide other life saving techniques while the Auto Pulse delivers compressions. It can also be used to deliver compressions while a victim is being transported down the stairs or while traveling in an ambulance.

“The great thing about this is it doesn’t get tired,” said Captain Barton, noting the physical exertion required of manually performing chest compressions. He also noted the perilous situation that can arise from manually performing chest compressions moving in an ambulance.

While the Auto Pulse system is affective in administering chest compressions, Captain Barton noted that it should not be used on children or on a victim with chest injuries.

Council member Mary Knight questioned the difference between the Auto Pulse system and the Automated External Defibrillators (AED). “They often go hand and hand,” said Captain Barton, explaining that AED’s are used to correct cardiac arrhythmias by re-establishing an affective rhythm. “For a defibrillator to be affective, good CPR must be done,” said Captain Barton.

Currently the town’s EMS division has one Zoll Auto Pulse system, with one allotted in the FY 2009 budget. The system is not cheap however, running at $15,300 for one machine.

“It seems like they’re well worth it,” noted Mayor Rick Meehan.

Captain Barton explained that while the machines are FDA approved, they are still proceeding cautiously with the new devices, using ‘progressive conservatism’ with the testing and use of the system. Captain Barton noted that they would be performing a study on the system as they collect more date.