MANATEE COUNTY, FL (WFLA) – Manatee County EMS has a new tool that can revolutionize the way paramedics perform CPR. It’s called the Auto Pulse. The machine can do things humans can’t, which could mean the difference between life and death. When someone is having a heart attack, CPR is an effective option to save them. However, a human is only capable of so much. Longtime paramedic Jerome Ruffing said, “[CPR is] very tiring, you’re compressing at about 100 times a minute, and you’re using almost every muscle in your body.”
But the Auto Pulse is a more effective solution. Jason Evans with Manatee County EMS said, “Traditional CPR, you’re compressing over the top center of the chest over the sternum, this device delivers that compression over the whole thoracic cavity so it gets a more effective compression.”
It takes only seconds to set up, and the consistent, strong compressions pump more blood through the body than typical CPR. It frees the paramedic to do other life-saving tasks, because every second counts. Sean Dwyer with Manatee County EMS said, “You’re free to do IVs, you’re free to do medications, you’re free to put a tube down their throat to help them breathe, you’re free to defibrillate, you’re free to do a lot.”
The Auto Pulse also allows paramedics to do compressions while moving the patient around. That used to be impossible. The machine appears powerful enough to break ribs, but Evans said that is not the case. He said since the pressure is spread across the whole chest, it’s less likely there would be damage to the ribs or the sternum.
Manatee County purchased 8 Auto Pulse devices at nearly $20,000 apiece. Officials soon hope to have every ambulance equipped with one. And it’s been needed. In the past two years, paramedics have responded to nearly 900 calls for cardiac arrest, and they only expect that call volume to rise. Evans said, “If we can save even one life with the device, it’s worth every penny.”