Taney County Ambulance District uses new EleGARD system, improves survivability in cardiac events

HOLLISTER, Mo. – The Taney County Ambulance District is one of the few paramedic services in the United States using a new lifesaving device for cardiac patients.

The district has purchased 13 brand new EleGARD Patient Positioning Systems. The EleGARD is a back board which lifts the head and allows blood to flow downhill during CPR like it is intended to.

Taney County Ambulance District (TCAD) Public Information Officer Johnathan Tudor told The Heartlander new research suggests that doing compressions without the head elevated is like giving a patient an immediate concussion. 

EleGARD goes hand-in-hand with the LUCAS device and heart monitor used in CPR situations. The LUCAS, which stands for the Lund University Cardiopulmonary Assist System, provides perfectly placed mechanical chest compressions for patients in cardiac arrest.

“Just the LUCAS devices themselves, we’ve seen our resuscitating rates increase,” Tudor said. “Pairing the two together, we’re very hopeful that we’re gonna make a significant difference and save a lot of lives.”

A patient’s survival rate during a cardiac event has increased from 3-5% of neurological survivability to 30-50% with elevation of the head and EleGARD device. 

“Statistically that is crazy numbers, but the goal is to get this device on as fast as possible. Circulation is the most important thing.”

Tudor says the FDA-approved system is a paradigm shift for paramedics. The device has taken everything his fellow medics were originally taught and turned it on its head. 

TCAD is the only ambulance service in Missouri that has purchased the $70,000 systems. Every ambulance in the district has one on board, including one flight unit. Tudor says most ambulance districts using the device are on the coasts, where the system’s promising statistics come from. TCAD will also participate in a research project to report cardiac saves while using the EleGARD.

Tudor says the EleGARD is about 2 feet wide and 4 feet long.

“They aren’t really clunky at all. It comes in a backpack. Whenever you get a cardiac arrest, you grab the backpack that has the EleGARD. The other person grabs the backpack that’s got the LUCAS device in it and heart monitor. It is very efficient.”

Fire and rescue teams, along with local law enforcement, will be trained to use the new device. TCAD will begin using the EleGARD during emergency situations within the next few weeks.


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