MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Going into sudden cardiac arrest is a terrifying experience affecting hundreds of thousands across the country. One fire department in the Mid-South is utilizing life-saving technology they say is making a difference.
While there were 900,000 cardiac arrests in the United States last year, the survival rate is less than 11% when it occurs outside a hospital.
On Wednesday, Jack Fong was reunited with some of the Germantown firefighters who helped him after going into cardiac arrest. He considers himself lucky.
“It’s all amazing. Just happy to be here,” he said. “Appreciate the Germantown Fire Department for everything they’ve done.”
He suffered a stroke six months before going into cardiac arrest.
“I thought everything was going well. We were getting ready to go on vacation, I think I’ll run out and cut the grass real quick, and suddenly I pass out. I didn’t even know I passed out,” he said.
Neighbors immediately helped out with CPR until the fire department showed up and placed him in this machine that supports the new technique for resuscitation called Neuroprotective CPR.
The new machine with a suction cup-like device helps patients until they can make it to the hospital.
“Include a little valve that fits on the airway to harness the vacuum so when you push down and pull up with that suction cup device, instead of air rushing in when it pulls up blood comes rushing back up to the heart and you can double or triple blood flow to the brain,” said Dr. Keith Lurie who invented the technology.
It is then combined with another device that elevates the head.
“When all of these are put together, it gives you at least 50 if not 100% of normal blood flow to the brain,” Dr. Lurie said.
Germantown Fire was the first in the state to adopt this technology to hopefully save more people when it happens. Collierville Fire recently started using the technology too.
All the parts of the machine cost about $20,000.