Understanding CPR and the LUCAS CPR machine

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a life-saving technique. CPR is given when an individual has agonal respiration or is not responsive. Time is a vital determinant of the success rate of CPR.

CPR first aid consists of the application of rescue breathing as well as chest compressions. Compressions should be the initial step. If the person is skilled and confident, then mouth to mouth resuscitation can be carried out.

The technique assists in reestablishing the unconstrained flow of blood. CPR improves the chances of survival when it is done on time and appropriately. The process is vital as it helps in averting tissue damage due to a lack of oxygen.

The use of defibrillation is another essential process that should be carried out during an incident of cardiac arrest. It is the action of applying an electric current to restore the normal rhythm of the sino-atrial node.

Traditionally, CPR was conducted by a bystander or emergency response services. However, in recent times, there has been a surge of mechanical compression devices that perform CPR. These devices run almost autonomously as they conduct the life-saving technique. 

The LUCAS CPR device is a mobile tool for conducting chest compressions for an extended period. Its primary function is to help in saving a life during an incident of cardiac arrest. Its name stands for Lund University Cardiopulmonary Assisted System.

The compression is carried out by an automated mechanism that is powered electrically or utilizing air pressure. Statistics indicate that the tool can conduct CPR continuously and at times, can even perform better than a person.

Since the device is somewhat automated, it allows people to deal with other issues during a medical emergency. The chest compression instrument is designed to fit even the most massive human chest cavity.

The tool allows for uninterrupted chest compressions during the movement of the victim to the hospital. It also gives a chance for other life-saving techniques to be conducted— for instance the percutaneous coronary intervention procedure.

The instrument enhances the safety of medical personnel during transport as they don’t have to carry out CPR on the move. The latest form of the device is the LUCAS 3 variant. It is an improvement of its predecessor, the LUCAS 2 instrument.

How the Tool Works

The LUCAS instrument comes in a case that needs to be opened to assemble the contents. It consists of a backplate and the upper compression part. During CPR, the victim is first placed on his or her back.

The victim is lifted gently by the shoulders, and the backplate is then placed underneath them. The patient is then placed on his back, and hand compressions are applied. These compressions are continued before that upper section is introduced.

The upper section of the instrument is then prepared and placed on the chest cavity of the victim. The back and front segments must fit into each other before the device is started. The compression pad must be located directly above the sternum.

These adjustments should be made quickly and carefully to minimize time wastage. If there is a size issue, and the device does not fit, the hand compressions should be initiated immediately.

The control panel is then used to initiate the compressions. These presses can either be continuous or interrupted, depending on the required sequence. Straps are used to secure the person’s neck and limbs to limit movements that may disturb the LUCAS CPR machine.

It is essential to ensure that there is a backup battery on standby in case the one in use runs out. This helps in reducing interruptions in between compressions cycles. Defibrillation can be carried out as the machine runs. However, it is crucial to ensure the wires do not cross paths with the compression pad of the instrument.

The device is normally removed when the victim is considered stable or after they have been transferred to life support machines. The device can be removed when the individual has been deemed to have passed on by a qualified medical practitioner.

The Critical Roles of the LUCAS device

Automated cardiopulmonary resuscitation is the modern way of preserving life. Like any other technique, it has benefits as well as limitations. For now, let us look at the conveniences that are conferred by the device.

  1. The device allows for high quality CPR Care

This is one of the most obvious reasons why the device is beneficial.  There are a lot of variations and issues that can happen during the application of CPR.

 Different people apply different forces of pressure while giving CPR. This, coupled with situational incidents, may affect the quality of the compressions.

For a caregiver, conducting continuous CPR may be hard. A person is prone to fatigue and may not be unable to continue the resuscitation for an extended time. All these factors may seem trivial, but seconds may make the difference between life and death.

Another benefit of the machine is that it comes with a suction cup. This part sticks to the chest during compressions and decompressions. This helps to alleviate a common issue during manual CPR, where the chest does not rise after compression.

When this happens, it requires the use of mouth to mouth technique alongside the chest compressions. The LUCAS CPR machine uses the cup to ensure the chest rises and drops ensuring air is reaching the lungs.

The tool improves end-tidal CO2 concentration, which is an essential basis of CPR.  This concentration is used as a measure of the volume of carbon dioxide that is being expelled from tissues.

The use of the LUCAS CPR machine ensures that continuous high caliber compressions are being delivered to the victim. The device is very accurate in terms of pressure and the number of compressions. 

This quality CPR helps to increase the chances of survival and reduce the probability of brain or nerve damage. Research has shown that the tool improves the flow of blood within the brain, which is vital for survival.

  • The machine allows for additional medical techniques to be applied to the victim.

During CPR first aid, there are instances where the individual does not respond to chest compressions or even defibrillation. When this occurs, advanced medical methods have to be applied and often along with chest compressions.

These advanced medical techniques include but not limited to ECPR. The Extracorporeal Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (ECPR) is a technique under CPR. It involves moving a victim’s blood through a device that conducts oxygenation of the blood and pumps the blood back to the victim.

The intervention is applied only under specific conditions, and not everyone requires this technique during CPR. It is typically used when there is an air leak in the lungs, or there is high blood pressure within the blood vessels of the lungs.

The blood is sourced from the femoral vein and is returned via the femoral artery through cannulation. The device used is known as an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation system. This method primarily serves to prevent death and organ and nerve damage.

The use of the LUCAS instrument allows for chest compressions to be applied during the application of the ECPR. These compressions further improve the chances of survival for the victim.

Another intervention technique in which the LUCAS device can be used is the percutaneous coronary intervention or PCI in short. This is a medical method conducted within a hospital by qualified cardiologists.

The PCI involves the use of a pliable tube that is passed through blood vessels until it reaches the coronary artery. The tube contains a balloon that is inflated to open up the artery. A stent is then used to hold the open artery in place. The apparatus is deflated and removed from the patient.

The method is applied to help in improving the movement of blood within the coronary artery and relieve chest pains that are related to the heart. PCI is customarily used to treat atherosclerosis, which is characterized by plaque deposits within blood vessels. These deposits can’t cause cardiac arrest that lasts for an extended period.

During PCI, it is essential to conduct continuous chest compressions as the procedure is being undertaken. The LUCAS device automates this process quickly. 

During PCI, the tubes being used apply the use of fluoroscopy that involves radiation rays. The application of the LUCAS instrument mostly allows the radiation rays to pass through it without obstructing the imaging process.

Since it is the device that is conducting compressions, the hospital staff does not have to be exposed to the X rays. This means that the device offers a better and safer environment for staff as they won’t be exposed to unnecessary radiation.

  • It helps to keep the caregiver safe and improve the efficiency of their work.

In the past, it was normal for caregivers to switch after three minutes. This was done to prevent the build-up of fatigue during CPR. Fatigue would have affected the quality of compressions. This is no longer the case since the invention of the LUCAS tool.

Emergency service providers and hospital staff also face risks as they attend to cardiac arrest victims. Hands-only CPR can be risky, especially during the movement of the patient to the hospital or during the PCI procedure.

These perils affect not only the care providers but also the victims. During transport, a lot of things may happen. There may be bad weather, bumps, potholes, or any other uncertainty that may result in a minor or major accident. 

When this happens, the patient may be injured further, but the caregiver would be the one at most peril. This is because the person would have been giving hands-only CPR while standing as the vehicle moves.

The use of the LUCAS device allows the personnel to stay seated safely in a seat during transport. During PCI, the staff also are saved from the hassle of doing CPR under pressure and in awkward positions. This way, the team can concentrate on other activities such as monitoring the vital medical signs of the patient.

The use of automated cardiopulmonary resuscitation also helps in improving the efficiency of staff. Once the chest compressions are started, the situation can be changed from chaotic to calm. The care provider can concentrate and make appropriate discernments to assist the victim. This way, they can conduct the correct diagnosis and apply the needed remedy.

  • The device can be applied swiftly on a patient with ease.

The design of the LUCAS CPR machine allows for easy and swift application onto the victim. It has a large upper structure that can fit even large individuals. Its straps serve as a security measure to firmly protect the patient from slipping out of position as the device runs.

During change from hands-only resuscitation to mechanical CPR, it was noted that the interruption time was only seven to ten seconds. This means that the device can be set quickly to start chest compressions as soon as possible.

Its structural design is specially made to ensure it fits quickly and efficiently. This helps to ensure that CPR occurs as fast as possible to preserve life.

  •  The LUCAS tool can be set to run as per an institutions’ regulation.

The instrument has a vital benefit of being highly versatile. It can be easily adjusted, and its parameters can be set to run according to the requirements set by a certain medical institution.  These parameters can be set by the use of the LIFENET system.

It is possible to adjust the deepness and number of compressions as per the requirement. Others include timers for alerts and the setting of the pressure pad to the needed requirement. All these features allow the device to work under specified conditions. This ensures that the whole process of CPR goes smoothly without complications.

It also ensures that all procedures done are as per the standards of the medical department. These activities are done under a flexible system that can be depended on at all times. In case of any issue, it is possible to review the system to check for compliance and deviations.

  • It is highly portable.

The LUCAS device is a practical CPR first aid tool because of its portability. The case in which the instrument is held is slightly larger than the average backpack. The tool is easy to assemble and disassemble form the case. This means that it can be transported and be used in virtually any location, including airplanes.

The device uses a battery system, further increasing its portability. Even when electricity is not available, it can continue to run for a prolonged period. If power is available, it has a charging system that can be connected to the usual socket allowing it to run longer.

The tool also comes with an additional battery pack that can be easily switched in a matter of seconds. It’s simple but efficient design allows for easy detection of the battery level to know when to swap or charge it.

  • The device comes with field and technical support.

When a client buys a LUCAS device, it comes with unparallel support from the manufacturing firm. The firm offers both local and online training on all the essentials of how to operate the tool. Hands-on training, as well as training videos, are made widely available to the client.

The LUCAS CPR machine also comes with a vast repair service. Their crew are highly trained and have more than ten years’ experience. They make sure that all devices run smoothly and undergo maintenance so that they can work for as long as possible.

There is also a twenty-four-hour technical support center that is always on stand by to assist customers. The manufacturing firm also holds seminars where clients get to learn the latest information and trends associated with CPR.

In short, when you invest in a LUCAS medical instrument, it comes with top of the line support. Not only will you get the support and service you require but also much more.

The Shortcomings of the LUCAS CPR machine

Every beautiful piece of tech has its ugly side. The same applies to the automated cardiopulmonary resuscitation device.

 Even though the device offers vital life-saving chest compressions to a victim, it has several shortcomings. They include the following.

  1. The LUCAS tool may offer inadequate CPR if it is placed incorrectly.

During a medical emergency that requires CPR, responders may be in hurry to save a life. When applying the mechanical CPR tool on a victim, it is possible to misalign it’s intended location. Typically the suction part of the device should be directly above the sternum.

When it is placed inappropriately, the tool may deliver poor quality compressions continuously. If this is not corrected, then there is a risk that the victim may not even make it to the hospital. Manual CPR differs from this as the caregiver can amend his or her position quickly.

  • There is a risk of injury during the use of the LUCAS device.

Since the LUCAS instrument conducts CPR by mechanical action, it delivers a higher force of pressure as compared to human hands. This means that the force generated by the device is likely to cause injuries or aggravate current injuries that the victim may have.

A common injury associated with the use of the LUCAS 2 device includes skin lesions, bruises, and rib fractures during CPR. Rib fractures were found more related to the LUCAS 2 device as compared to hands-only CPR. Sternum fractures are also a risk that may occur during the use of the device.

These resulting injuries may contribute to additional complications and affect the outcome of medical care as well as the quality of life of the victim.

  • The device is quite costly and cannot be adopted for widespread use.

It is no lie, the LUCAS instrument is no cheap device. At the time of writing this literature, the price of one unit of the LUCAS 3.1 tool is about $16000. This is quite an amount for such a device that should be saving lives.

Its price means that only well-funded health care institutions and emergency response departments can afford a LUCAS. The majority of emergency service providers in big cities have access to such tools. However, this is not the case in rural town.

We don’t even have enough of them in major public places where many incidents of cardiac arrest are rampant.

  • The LUCAS instrument must be operated by qualified personnel.

The CPR tool can look complicated for a first-timer. Remember, one must be able to disassemble the case, assemble and put the device into use accurately and ASAP. It cannot be operated by just anyone who has access to it.

Any errors in setting and operating the device may result in loss of life or occurrence of injury. Thus, it needs a robust training and demonstration on how the instrument should be used.


The LUCAS CPR machine is a modern take on the future of CPR. It has numerous applications that have many benefits over the traditional form of CPR. It is evident that the use of this mechanical device may pose several risks.

However, it is essential to note that the potential benefits far outweigh the risks. It is better to save a life and treat the resulting injuries than to lose it altogether.

The LUCAS device has a rich history, it boasts of a case where it carried out CPR for eight hours. The patient was able to make a recovery and continues living a healthy life.

 The LUCAS device offers almost-perfect CPR that serves to reduce fatalities caused by cardiac arrest and related complications. And in a modern time where tech is saving lives in many other ways, maybe it’s time we work on fixing its shortcomings to rescue more people in the future.