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Albuquerque Fire Rescue and Albuquerque Ambulance Service Announce Implementation of Automated CPR Devices (LUCAS Device)

LUCAS devices will be beneficial in circumstances where manual CPR is not practical

From Albuquerque Fire Rescue

Albuquerque Fire Rescue will soon be implementing a new device on all AFR Rescues that will be used for CPR in cardiac arrest patients.  These units, called LUCAS devices, will be beneficial in circumstances where manual CPR is not practical. This device has already been recognized as a component one patient’s survival. AFR Chief Paul Dow, Deputy Chief Emily Jaramillo, and EMS Battalion Commander Christopher Ortiz will be showcasing the LUCAS device and discussing the advantages over manual CPR as well as how AFR was able to get funding with the help of Albuquerque City Councilors.                                   

“While AFR was able to buy 17 devices to place on our Paramedic Rescues, we were short the funding to outfit all 21 Paramedic Rescues. However, with each Councilors generous contribution, we were able to equip every Paramedic Rescue in the City of Albuquerque with a LUCAS device,” stated Fire Chief Paul Dow. 

In addition to providing better quality CPR compressions, the procurement of the LUCAS Devices will give the patient the ability to participate in the ECMO program that has been established by UNMH. ECMO (Extracorporeal Oxygenation) is where blood is removed from the body and oxygenated using an external source.  Currently, UNMH is the only facility providing ECMO to in-hospital patients and is looking to expand partnerships with EMS.

Albuquerque Fire Rescue works approximately 570 cardiac arrests each year. Manual CPR becomes less effective as the EMS provider becomes fatigued. Also, transporting patients in cardiac arrest is both dangerous for crews and ineffective when compared to stationary compressions—which are one reason cardiac arrest calls are treated on the scene until a return of pulses occur.  Due to sterile fields, tight spaces, etc. field crew and hospital caregivers are unable to provide manual CPR in the Cath Lab.  This is where mechanical compressions given by the LUCAS Device really become a game changer for cardiac arrest patients.  Both safe, and efficient, the device is placed on the cardiac arrest patient at the scene and transported to the hospital where the LUCAS continues un-interrupted compressions. 

For the last few months, the AFR Academy staff has been providing training to members on how to apply and operate the LUCAS device. While this was occurring, the AFR Quality Assurance Paramedic Captain Unit was supplied with one of the devices. The QA Captain responds to the majority of cardiac arrests in the city. Recently, AFR crews used the LUCAS device on a retired APD officer who was in cardiac arrest. The retired officer is now alive and recovering at home. All 657 members of Albuquerque Fire Rescue have now received training on these new devices, and we are ready to place them on our Paramedic Rescues.