A new mechanical CPR technique being tested in Australia is being credited with saving the lives of three people who were clinically dead for more than 40 minutes. The technique uses two machines: One, called an AutoPulse, keeps up a constant stream of compressions (far stronger and more consistent than a human can), while the second, a portable heart-lung machine, pumps blood to the vital organs and brains. The machines are giving doctors more time to address the root cause of a heart attack and still bring patients back with minimal damage.
The trials has been tested on seven cardiac arrest patients, three of whom were saved after being techincally "dead" for nearly an hour. One man, 39-year-old Colin Fielder, was brought back to life last summer, and all three suffered no permanent disability.
Only three ambulances in the whole country have access to the AutoPulse, and just one hospital had all the necessary equipment on site to peform the trial. After the successes they've had at The Alfred Hospital in Victoria, doctors hope to expand the program.