South Central Ambulance Service Trust introduces new CPR tool

South Central Ambulance Service Trust (SCAS) has launched a new device said to automatically perform CPR in emergency vehicles. 

The device, LUCAS 3, works mechanically to deliver chest compressions from when ambulance crews arrive at the patient, to arriving at the hospital. The LUCAS 3 is an upgraded model from the LUCAS 2, which SCAS trialled in 2014 before publishing the results in the Lancet.  

28 devices will be rolled out to ambulance crews across Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Hampshire, supported by the charity arm of the trust, South Central Ambulance Charity.  

Professor Charles Deakin, Divisional Medical Director for SCAS and lead for resuscitation, said: “The LUCAS device transforms the management at a cardiac arrest and allows paramedics to focus on the key aspects of clinical care. 

“It will be an invaluable part of the team and contribute to the already outstanding results that SCAS has achieved in saving lives of these patients.” 

LUCAS 3 machines are also used in hospital settings to support patients in cardiac arrest in intensive care units, as well as for patients undergoing life-saving coronary balloon angioplasty and stenting procedures to widen narrowed arteries. 

Dr John Black, Medical Director at SCAS, added: “We know that delivering high quality and uninterrupted chest compressions in cardiac arrest is one of the major determinants of survival to hospital discharge but it can be very challenging for a number of reasons. 

“People can become fatigued when performing CPR manually which then affects the rate and quality of compressions and patients may need to be moved from difficult locations, such as down a narrow flight of stairs or remote places, which impedes the process. 

“There are also significant safety risks to ambulance personnel being unrestrained and performing CPR in the back of vehicles travelling at high speed.”

The technology also allows emergency staff to change the rate of compressions and once CPR is successful it saves the data and can be shared with other clinicians.