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June 2013

Man demonstrating machine jpegProfessor Steven Bernard demonstrates ECMO and AutoPulse. (Picture courtesy of the Herald Sun)

Mechanical CPR helps save lives

Alfred Health is the first service in Australia to trial a mechanical CPR machine which performs constant chest compression for patients experiencing cardiac arrest.

The AutoPulse device is used in conjunction with a portable heart-lung machine – normally used in theatre – that keeps oxygen and blood flowing to the patient’s brain and vital organs.

During this time, the brain is protected by rapidly cooling it to 32 degrees.

Alfred Health has treated seven cardiac patients with AutoPulse and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO).

Combining extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and AutoPulse allowed doctors to diagnose the cardiac condition and treat it faster, said senior intensive care physician Professor Steven Bernard.

‘The results are exciting and we are looking to expand the use of the device across more areas of Melbourne and are deciding on where they would be best placed.

‘The results of this trial could see the role of ECMO expanded into other hospitals as well as local ambulance crews.

‘Then patients could receive treatment pre-hospital, giving physicians enough time to diagnose their cardiac condition,’ Professor Bernard said.

The trial is a collaboration between The Alfred, Ambulance Victoria, Monash University and the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute.