Stanly EMS presents results for new CPR-assisting device

ALBEMARLE — With the assistance of grant funding, local first responders and the majority of the volunteer fire departments in Stanly County now have a new tool to help save lives. 

At the Stanly County Commissioners meeting on Feb. 6, Emergency Medical Services Chief Dale Chandler gave a presentation on the trial usage of the Stryker LUCAS 3 Chest Compression System, a device that functions as an automatic CPR machine, provides quality chest compressions, and enhances firefighter efficiency during cardiac arrest emergencies. 

The results of a trial demonstrated that the device provided an 8% jump in CPR effectiveness based on a return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC). 

“It’s a machine to do what a person typically does, or in a typical EMS situation, what sometimes 20 people have to do,” Chandler said. “We had an initiative that started from our field training officers as we saw that there were some limited resources here in Stanly County. We don’t have exponential amounts of first responders or EMS providers, for that matter. Our administrative and training staff set out to find the solution to that gap to provide the most appropriate care to our citizens here in the county without taxing our resources.” 

After being able to demo a LUCAS device on a supervisor’s vehicle for 60 days, Stanly EMS came to the conclusion it “was the most user-friendly option that there was” and subsequently approached the Stanly County Fire Chiefs Association about funding options. 

The Cannon Foundation — a statewide charitable organization that accepts grant requests prioritizing healthcare, higher education, community, and human services — awarded Stanly EMS a total of $279,072, leaving a remaining cost of $42,000 to be shared across the following Stanly fire departments: Richfield, New London, Millingport, Endy, Ridgecrest, Oakboro, West Stanly, Aquadale, Center Rural, and Southside. 

During the second half of his slideshow to the board, Chandler revealed the before-and-after data held by Stanly EMS pertaining to LUCAS implementation.  

From Aug. 1 to Oct. 31, before the new device was used, 19 patients suffering cardiac arrests were treated and 42% of that sample size experienced a ROSC. Additionally, none of the 13 patients having a systole or a flatline arrest were revived with manual CPR. 

From Nov. 1 until now, after the new device was implemented, 50% of the 26 patients treated for cardiac arrest experienced a ROSC, while seven of the 13 patients having a systole or flatline arrest were revived and hospitalized.  

“Our opinion on this is that if it saves one life, it’s been well worth the cost to implement,” Chandler said. “So far, we’ve had an 8% increase in our cardiac arrest statistics, and we’re really looking forward to what the data will show after a full year. At this point, I just want to come before you and would like to formally thank the Cannon Foundation for their generous funding to help people implement this project in our county. Without them, this would not have been possible as soon as it was or it may have never been possible.” 

Following the presentation, multiple commissioners thanked Chandler for his presentation and unanimously agreed that the implementation of the LUCAS device was a positive step forward for the county’s EMS workers and fire departments.  

The Stanly County Board of Commissioners is set to hold its next meeting inside the Gene McIntyre Room at Stanly Commons. It will take place on Feb. 20.