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Superior North EMS gets new gear

Victims of heart failure could leave the hospital in a matter of hours instead of weeks thanks to a new device installed in district ambulances.
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The CPAP is displayed on a dummy Friday afternoon. (Jamie Smith)
Victims of heart failure could leave the hospital in a matter of hours instead of weeks thanks to a new device installed in district ambulances.

The Continuous Positive Airway Pressure device has been installed in all 35 Superior North EMS ambulances in the last six weeks. When the heart can’t pump adequately, a result of heart attack or failure, fluid builds up in the lungs.

The CPAP keeps pressure in the lungs pushing the fluid out. EMS Deputy Chief Wayne said the device has already been used 25 times since being installed.

"It’s a great device for congestive heart failure patients where the heart is starting to fail and fluid is coming into the lungs this device will push that fluid out of the way and get oxygen into the patient" said Gates "It’s an extra tool that prevents the patient from hitting that critical threshold."

Gates said before the CPAP was installed, if a patient was in critical condition, they would be placed on a ventilator in hospital for up to two weeks. Now, victims of heart failure can be discharged from hospital after 12 hours.

The $1,200 device is also much more cost effective for the healthcare system. Gates said when a patient has to go on a ventilator, which can cost as much as $30,000.

"This makes a major impact on the quality of patient care and the patients life itself," Gates said. "Being able to go back home to your friends and family I think that’s a pretty good quality of life."

Gates said the CPAP device is easy to use and training for district paramedics only took a few hours.







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