Cutting-Edge Life-Saving Machines at SLV Health Thanks to SLVHCC Grant

EMS Paramedic Mike Valdez demonstrates the new Lucas machine at SLV Health

A new machine is changing how healthcare workers at San Luis Valley Health respond to cardiac arrest emergencies.

Performing chest compressions in CPR is lifesaving, but a sometimes exhausting task. According to an article in the National Library of Medicine, fatigue during prolonged compressions can cause a decline in quality over time. Therefore, CPR guidelines recommend switching compressors every two minutes.

However, pausing compressions to switch can be dangerous in and of itself because it’s important not to stop and to keep the manual blood circulation consistent.

The new machine that helps alleviate these problems, and save lives, is called the LUCAS. It is a chest compression system that delivers automatic and consistent compressions to someone in cardiac arrest. The LUCAS’ automation can save a healthcare worker from fatigue while allowing them to perform other essential medical tasks.

Using the LUCAS is simple. As long as it’s stored properly, the battery will always be charged and ready to go. The machine is also stored in a backpack-like container that’s easy to carry wherever it may be needed and is able to charge for long periods of time without destroying the battery.

During use, a backplate goes under the patient and a stabilization strap goes behind the neck, so the compressions are correctly deployed and stabilized. The device is able to automatically detect the size of the patient, so the compressions are adjusted within seconds. After the settings are properly attuned, a sort of plunger lowers and performs the compressions for however long is necessary. It can also pause for assisted rescue breaths.

The LUCAS device is an exciting addition to both of San Luis Valley Health’s hospitals and Darrick Garcia, Director of Emergency Medical Services, is conducting extensive training for all employees who are in direct patient care. The purchase of the LUCAS devices was through mini-grants from the San Luis Valley Health Care Coalition, SLVHCC, which received the funds from the State of Colorado Emergency Preparedness division. SLV Health is grateful to be a recipient of this funding.