The University of Ottawa Heart Institute has recently purchased a chest compression device called the LUCAS (Lund University Cardiac Assist System) with the assistance of the Ottawa Heart Patient Alumni.

High quality chest compressions are of critical importance for survival and good neurological outcome after cardiac arrest.  In some situations, effective chest compressions may not be possible, even when done by healthcare professionals. Mechanical chest devices have, therefore, been developed to improve the outcome of patients needing CPR.  

The LUCAS has several features that will allow it to improve patient outcomes at the Ottawa Heart Institute.  This device allows accurate and reproducible chest compressions as mandated by the American Heart Association.  Studies have shown that it is as reliable as humans at performing chest compression, if not better. This is because there is no fatigue component involved, and there is consistency that is far more difficult for a human to maintain.  The device can be quickly applied to the patient who has experienced a cardiac arrest and is in need of ongoing CPR.

Since the LUCAS is relatively compact, it allows healthcare providers resuscitating the patient access from all angles.  It can also be used during transportation from one unit to another. For example, it allows CPR to be performed uninterrupted as the patient is being transported throughout the hospital.  

Perhaps, it has its greatest application in the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory.  In the past, when the patient experienced a cardiac arrest and required ongoing CPR, it was impossible to perform a catheterization/PCI procedure simultaneously.  This is because the x-ray tube needs to be placed over the patient, which interferes with CPR. The radiation exposure is also unsafe for the staff performing CPR. The LUCAS device allows a number of selected views, which can be used for the angiographic/PCI procedure.  

Finally, the LUCAS is relatively light and can be transported in its case as a pack sack.  It would allow us to retrieve patients in the Emergency Department who require transportation to the Ottawa Heart Institute with ongoing CPR.  

We consider the addition of the LUCAS an important building block to our Cardiac Arrest Regional Program.  We anticipate that this device will save lives.

Prepared by Dr. Michel Le May