NORTHGLENN, Colo. — EMTs at North Metro Fire got a chance to actually meet someone they had a chance encounter with last November. On the 28th of the month, the crew got a 911 call from Francisco Garza, who said his wife looked as if she was dying.
“We were going to bed and she just passed out and rolled out of bed,” said Garza. “Her eyes rolled up and she looked pale, I couldn’t find a pulse so I called for help!”
When the rescue crew arrived, they confirmed what Francisco had said: no pulse, no heartbeat, it was a full cardiac arrest. When one of the team began hands-on CPR with compression pumps to the chest, Joy Garza still was all but dead. When the chief arrived, he brought with him a new device called the AutoPulse Non-invasive Cardiac Support Pump. This machine delivers uniform compressions and after about 10 to 15 minutes, they were able to revive the mother of three.
“The machine allows our team to stay safe inside our rig on the way to the emergency room, “ said Lt. Eric Schultz. “This machine can apply the needed pressure even as we are carrying the patient to the ambulance, and allows for the crew to do other things while on the way to the hospital.”
SCA is an abrupt disruption of the heart’s function which causes a lack of blood flow to the vital organs. The ailment claims more than 325,000 deaths in the U.S. and more than 1 million worldwide each year. The tricky thing about the illness is it strikes without warning. The new Auto Pulse can more than double the number of people who can be saved when experiencing cardiac arrest. Only about 5 % of those stricken survive, but now the device is changing those numbers.
The only problem is the $15,000 price tag. There are only a couple of the devices in use in metro. Littleton Fire has one and North Metro has a pair they got through a special trial program from the maker, Zoll. The bottom line is the AutoPulse has more than tripled survival compared to typical CPR during witnessed shockable arrests.