EMS MEd Blog

New Toys, New Protocols?: Mechanical CPR in the prehospital setting

A 64 yo male is having dinner with his family when he begins to feel lightheaded and nauseated.  As he stands up to leave the table, he collapses to the ground.  His family calls 911.  As he is unresponsive with agonal respirations, the call is dispatched as a cardiac arrest and the patient's family is instructed to perform CPR via pre-arrival instructions.

On EMS arrival, the patient is found to be pulseless.  Compressions are continued while the patient is connected to the monitor.  The EMS supervisor arrives on scene shortly after with a newly purchased mechanical CPR device.

Should the mechanical CPR device be used?  If so, when should it be applied? 

Do you have a protocol dedicated to use of mechanical CPR?  If you utilize mechanical CPR, how do you integrate it into your cardiac arrest resuscitation so as to minimize interruption of chest compressions? 

Thank you for sharing your thoughts/comments.  A case summary may be found here.