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County gets new life-saving device

Boyle County Emergency Medical Service (EMS) has a new tool for treating heart attack patients. Boyle County EMS recently purchased four AutoPulse devices through a grant from the Ephraim McDowell Health Care Foundation and funds from Boyle Fiscal Court.

The new machines are ZOLL AutoPulse® Non-invasive Cardiac Support Pumps. The devices perform chest compressions that previously had to be performed by a person.

Emergency workers say the devices can achieve much higher levels of blood circulation because of the unique, consistent and uninterrupted chest compressions generated.

It is an automated, portable device with a band that squeezes the entire chest, to improve blood flow to the heart and brain during a cardiac arrest. With the device, compressions can continue to be delivered even when a patient is being moved on a stretcher, traveling in an ambulance or while undergoing other medical procedures.

“Once a person is in cardiac arrest, every minute counts to get the heart beating normally again,” says Aaron Stamper, Boyle County EMS. “For every minute that passes the chance of survival decreases by 10 percent. After 10 minutes, survival is unlikely. Our goal is to protect the lives of our citizens, and this purchase is an important step in helping to achieve that goal. I have been a professional first responder for more than 15 years, and I have never seen a device that does what the AutoPulse does. With it, we are better prepared to deal with a cardiac arrest.”

“We are excited to be able to provide funds to Boyle County EMS for this equipment,” says Julie Buchanan, executive director of the Ephraim McDowell Health Care Foundation. “It is amazing to see this machine in action. It should have an immediate impact on the health of cardiac arrest patients in Boyle County.”

Cardiac arrest is the leading cause of unexpected death in the world and strikes without warning. In the U.S. alone, there are more than 325,000 deaths each year from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Currently, only about 5% of victims survive; 95%l die from cardiac arrest.

The American Heart Association estimates that focusing on a strong Chain of Survival (early access to care, early CPR, early defibrillation, and early advanced medical care) can increase survival rates to 20% or more, and could save at least 40,000 lives each year.

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