Automatic CPR device saves life of woman who was clinically dead for 42 minutes

From: ABC Online

A woman who was clinically dead for 42 minutes is preparing to leave a Melbourne hospital after being treated with a lifesaving piece of equipment that performs CPR.

Vanessa Tanasio, 41, started feeling chest pains at her Narre Warren home last Monday morning. Her mother called 000 and an ambulance arrived soon after.

One of Ms Tanasio's main coronary arteries was completely blocked, and she needed numerous defibrillator shocks, including one in the ambulance on the way to the Monash Medical Centre.

When she arrived she was conscious but soon went into full cardiac arrest.

Doctors say she was clinically dead for 42 minutes.

They say they were able to save her life using a piece of equipment known as the Lucas 2 External Compression Device.

The $15,000 device automatically performs CPR, or chest compressions, to maintain the circulation of oxygen to the heart and brain.

CPR is a physically demanding task that involves physical force to compress the chest, which limits the amount of time it can be used.

While the Lucas device was pumping Ms Tanasio's chest, doctors opened an artery and inserted a stent to allow the blood to flow again. 

"We know that with the Lucas device we maintained oxygenation, we maintained the blood pressure to allow the blood to get to the brain to give oxygen," cardiologist Dr Wally Ahmar said.

"Without that, you know, anyone longer than a small, even a fraction of that time would end up with neurological deficits."

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