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Lake County Ambulance, Lake View Hospital receives new equipment

Lake County Ambulance Service and Lake View Hospital in Two Harbors recently received LUCAS 2 mechanical CPR devices.

The Minnesota Department of Health's Office of Rural Health & Primary Care, on behalf of the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, supplied two devices to Lake County Ambulance and one device to Lake View Hospital.

Staff members from Lake County Ambulance Service were given in-depth training on using the device to provide critical life-saving treatment during a cardiac arrest. As a non-profit organization, Lake County Ambulance Service is always looking for ways to provide exemplary care to its patients. Funding is a continual challenge, so receiving two LUCAS devices is a welcome gift for both the organization and the patients that they serve.

The LUCAS device has been available in the Twin Cities metro area hospitals for about five years and Lake View can now offer this technology to patients right here in the community. As a result of this grant, the LUCAS device can be used on patients who are brought into the hospital by ambulance, or on patients who come in on their own for care.

Known as an automated chest compression device, the Physio-Control LUCAS 2 Chest Compression System is a mechanical CPR device that allows medical personnel to perform hands-free consistent and uninterrupted CPR while attending to their patient's other needs.

Additional benefits for the patient includes use of the device in conjunction with an automated external defibrillator (AED) device, allowing for rhythm re-establishment during a cardiac arrest. The LUCAS 2 also eliminates rescuer fatigue associated with manual CPR and decreases risk of injury to medical personnel during transport.

Every year, more than 380,000 cardiac arrest occur in the United States. Cardiac arrests are often mistakenly referred to as a heart attack. Unlike a heart attack, however, where blockage within a coronary artery stops blood flow to the heart muscle; causing damage or death to the muscle tissue, a cardiac arrest occurs when the heart's electrical system malfunctions; disrupting, or stopping the heart's rhythm. Disruption in the rhythm causes the heart's pumping ability to decrease, resulting in little to no blood flow to the brain, lungs, or other vital organs. Without intervention, a cardiac arrest victim will die within minutes of an occurrence.

Although widely used in Minnesota's Metro region, less than 80 percent of ambulance services and hospitals in Greater Minnesota have access to a LUCAS device. These rural communities have been Identified by the Helmsley Foundation as areas of greatest need when it comes to access to quality, effective healthcare. By providing a device to all rural ambulance services and hospitals like Lake View Hospital, the grant will be instrumental in improving this imbalance.