Researcher develops new CPR device

by Justin Costley

Resuscitating a cardiac arrest victim with a common household plunger might seem like an impossibility. But after University doctor Keith Lurie cared for a patient who survived that exact situation, he decided to find the science that made the impossible possible.
In the 13 years since, Lurie, co-director of the University’s Cardiac Arrhythmia Center, has collaborated with others to develop new devices and techniques he says will have a remarkable impact on the efficiency of cardiopulmonary resuscitation and survival rates of heart attack patients.
“We were asking the scientific question: What happens and changes inside of a patient’s chest when you compress and then decompress the chest with a pair of hands vs. a suction-cup device?” Lurie said.
The technique Lurie developed is called active-compression-decompression CPR, or ACD-CPR.
Combining a hand-held suction device called a CardioPump with an impedance valve, which he and a University doctor co-discovered later on, Lurie said his technique will increase the effectiveness of CPR two or threefold.
Although the device is available in all other developed countries, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved its use. Without approval, researchers are forced to test the product in France where it is mandated by law.
Past tests show one-year survival rates double for cardiac arrest patients who were resuscitated using ACD-CPR rather than standard CPR.
A more recent study, published in the March 7 issue of “Circulation,” an American Heart Association journal, showed that when used together, the technologies maintain near-normal blood pressures longer, increase the flow of blood to the heart and brain, and resuscitates patients faster than those treated with hand-delivered CPR.
With the positive study results, Lurie said he hopes to make an impact on survival rates of patients who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
In the Twin Cities, between 80 and 85 percent of patients who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests do not survive, he said. Lurie added the numbers are better than average compared to the rest of the nation, which has a 5 percent survival rate.
“The vast majority of patients, despite what you see on emergency shows on TV, die,” Lurie said.
R.J. Frascone, medical director for Regions Hospital Emergency Medical Services, says both devices need further research, but show promise in being able to improve survival rates.
“It’s going to improve the survival of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, I think, and more importantly, it’s going to improve intact survival,” Frascone said.
“It’s not just survival we’re concerned about. We are concerned about people being able to have healthy, productive lives and not end up in a nursing home for the rest of their lives,” he added.
Terry Gisch, Emergency Medical Services quality adviser at Regions Hospital, said while training is needed before paramedics could use the device, she welcomes the opportunity to research anything that could help increase patient survival.
“The survival rate for standard CPR is so dismal,” Gisch said. “Any device that could enhance blood flow to the heart and blood flow to the brain is something that we are interested in looking more at.”
Lurie said his long-term goal is to provide devices and training for the families of people at risk for heart attacks.
“We’re optimistic that this technology will eventually get into the home with a goal to have it next to the fire extinguisher,” Lurie said.

Justin Costley covers the Medical School and welcomes comments at jcostle[email protected]. He can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3224.