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Portable Life-Support System Treats Cardiac Arrest

Credit: Imaging Technology News

With a portable system, cardiac arrest can be treated on-site.

When someone experiences cardiac arrest, there’s usually not a whole lot paramedics can do on-site. All they can really do is apply some basic preventative measures before loading the patient into the ambulance and trying to get to the hospital as quickly as possible for specialized treatment. However, a new device designed for medical first responders could expedite this procedure.

The UNM Department of Emergency Medicine, Divisions of Prehospital Care and Adult Critical Care, along with Albuquerque Fire and Rescue, have developed the very first portable system for an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (or ECMO) procedure. An ECMO is usually something that can only be performed in a hospital setting due to larger equipment, but this small device can properly circulate oxygenated blood for a cardiac arrest patient.

The ECMO device isn’t the only wonder of this new portable system. Phillips has contributed the Lumify portable ultrasound device, a simple ultrasound that can be connected to an ordinary smartphone. With the Lumify, paramedics can get an accurate look into a patient’s veins and arteries, which is vital information for an ECMO.

“We’re proud to work with the clinicians on the UNM EMS team who are finding real-world solutions to deliver high-tech care,” said Randy Hamlin, Phillips’ general manager for ultrasound tech. “We’re constantly looking for ways to help bring the best care to patients, wherever they are.”

University of New Mexico physicians, along with their local first responders, have already used this system to successfully treat cardiac arrest on-site. Researchers believe that a mass deployment of this system to medical first responders could improve cardiac arrest patient survival rate by at least 30%.