Physio-Control has developed Lucas 2, a system that delivers continuous chest compressions in order to maintain blood flow to the brain and other organs when a person suffers a cardiac arrest.

The latest chest compression system provides better cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) as the treatment in cardiac arrest cases should begin within four to six minutes before the heart and brain are damaged.

CPR is an emergency procedure to keep the brain function intact until additional measures are taken to restore blood flow and breathing for a person suffering a heart attack.

It involves a regular pattern of chest compressions and breaths so that oxygenated blood keeps circulating in the body and brain.

However, as performing manual CPR can be tiring, the Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC) has stipulated that an individual should not perform the procedure for more than two minutes and it should then be taken over by another person.

The guidelines also require that when this emergency procedure is being carried out, a patient’s chest should not be compressed for more than 5cm.

According to the company, LUCAS has been designed to address these issues.

The first LUCAS was introduced in 2002 to relieve the emergency staff from performing manual compressions so that they can efficiently assess a patient’s condition and determine the best treatment plan.

While LUCAS 1 is a pnuematically driven device and requires no electrical supply for operation, LUCAS 2 runs on Lithium-ion Polymer battery technology, which has a long-life and requires no test-cycle maintenance.

LUCAS 2, once setup, can run indefinitely on mains power, or up to 45 minutes on battery, which can be recharged.

The latest device, which features a piston driven by electrically-powered compressor, automatically compensates for the size of a patient as it does not require any special setup.

Once it is fixed on a patient, the rate can be set at the ARC recommended 100 compressions per minute.

The rate can also be set for 30 compressions following, which the machine stops to allow breaths to be administered and then delivers another 30 compressions.

Both compression and decompression are timed equally, enabling recoiling of the full chest.

It facilitates consistent blood flow right from the moment the device is switched on.

Designed for the harshest environments, it can be used even during transport to provide continuous compressions.

The latest model also comes with an additional safety feature – if the device senses a chest compression greater than 5cm, it alerts the operator with an alarm and immediately stops compressions.

Image: A LUCAS 2 being prepared for use on a patient suffering a suspected cardiac event. Photo: courtesy of Physio-Control.