February 1, 2007 Human factors engineers have developed a CPR machine that allows people without CPR training to save the lives of those who are suffering from cardiac arrest. It monitors, and gives feedback about, actions such as the depth of chest compressions. The device consists of a pressure-sensing headrest, an anesthesia mask, defibrillator pads, a monitor, and speakers that talk the user through the procedure step by step.
During a medical emergency, seconds can mean the difference between life and death. Each year in the United States, 300,000 people suffer cardiac arrests, yet studies show only 1 percent of the public have proper CPR training.
Now a new device will talk you through the proper way to administer CPR ... Even if you've never learned how.
"Unfortunately, it can take awhile for professionals to arrive on the scene, and that down time is critical," Paul Picciano, a human systems expert at Aptima, Inc., in Woburn, Mass., tells DBIS.
Picciano helped develop a medical device that guides untrained bystanders step-by-step through the CPR process.
The Just-in-Time Support device, or JITS for short, consists of a pressure-sensing headrest, an anesthesia mask, defibrillator pads, and a video screen and speakers that transmit audio and visual cues to tell the user what to do. It also gives feedback about any actions taken.
Picciano says, "Our system actually monitors the flow of the breath that went in and calculates that, compares it to the standards, and if it was sufficient it will move the respondent to the next step."
Sensors transmit information about breathing and depth of chest compressions to the computer inside the device, and based on the information received, the device gives directions and if the caregiver makes a mistake the device will correct them.
"We essentially have tried to eliminate most of the thinking involved," Picciano says. With less to think about, you could keep someone alive until professionals arrive.
Engineers hope to distribute JITS devices to the same types of busy public places that provide defibrillators, like airports, train stations, and shopping malls. They also hope to add a GPS system to the device so when a person opens it, it will automatically dial 911 and alert responders to the user's location.
BACKGROUND: Researchers at the University of Utah have created a prototype device that could make it possible for anyone -- even those with no emergency training -- to perform life-saving actions for victims of sudden cardiac arrest. The Just-in-Time Support device provides bystanders with guidance and information on how to administer CPR and assess the state and needs of the victim.
HOW IT WORKS: The device consists of a dummy "victim," a pressure-sensing headrest, an anesthesia mask, defibrillator pads, and a video screen and speakers that transmit audio and visual cues to tell the user what to do and give him/her feedback about the actions taken. The cues are based on American Heart Association protocols. Those using the device in a study not only surpassed the control group using no device, but performed to the level of the association's guidelines.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Brain death and permanent death can occur within 4 to 6 minutes after the first symptoms of cardiac arrest appear. About 300,000 people in the United States suffer sudden cardiac arrest every year, and the victim's life often hinges on the help of bystanders. Response time by paramedics after a 911 call us usually more than 6 minutes. The probability of survival decreases 7-10 percent each minute after the incident. Yet studies show that less than 1 percent of bystanders have had CPR training, and of those, fewer than 10 percent retained the knowledge a few months after the training. Using the Just-in-Time Support devices could vastly increase the number of people able to provide emergency life-saving treatment, significantly improving survival changes for sudden cardiac arrest victims.
CPR AND DEFIBRILLATION: Cardiac arrest is the sudden, abrupt loss of heart function resulting from such factors as heart disease, electrocution, drowning, choking and trauma. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) combines rescue breathing and chest compressions to keep victims of cardiac arrest alive until medical treatment is available. During cardiac arrest, the heart stops pumping blood; proper CPR supports a small amount of blood flow to the heart and brain to buy time until the heart begins to function normally again. If the arrest is caused by an abnormal heart rhythm, delivering an electric shock to the heart (defibrillation) can restore the normal rhythm.
The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society contributed to the information contained in the video portion of this report.
Editor's Note: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.