Med Device Monday: Guided CPR Device

Most of us have probably been through a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR!) training course, or at least have a passing familiarity with what CPR entails. Chest compressions, mouth-to-mouth, keeping up certain counts and rhythms: if you haven't been trained or had to do it yourself, then it's likely you at least know about it from movies and TV. Indeed, a quick YouTube search shows up dozens of clips and montages of CPR being done on screens big and small. Although, maybe be wary if you're trying to learn CPR at a paper company in Scranton, PA:

Performing CPR on someone, particularly if you're not a professional, can be a scary proposition. Especially if it's the first time you've had to do it, your training wasn't recent or hasn't been practiced very much, and/or it's someone you love. It's easy for all that training to go out the window in a moment of crisis. Imagine how it would be made easier if there were a device guiding you? Well now there is...although it's only for professionals. It's still pretty exciting!

When a person experiences sudden cardiac arrest, defibrillation and CPR are the two of the most critical components of the first line of treatment. Zoll® is marketing a new line of professional defibrillators—X Series®, R Series®, AED Pro®, and AED 3 BLS®—to help make delivering this time-dependent treatment as quickly and effectively as possible. In addition to delivering lifesaving electrical shocks, this line of defibrillators also provide realtime CPR help, giving the person administering CPR live feedback on the depth and rate of chest compressions—thus allowing any changes to be made to help provide the most effective treatment. While these devices are only to be used by medical professionals, it's not hard for the rest of us to imagine how very useful they could be. 

Photo from

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These devices from ZOLL have the ability to monitor: electrical activity of the heart via electrocardiogram (ECG) and 12-lead ECG analysis; effectiveness of the CPR; temporary cardiac pacing (external transcutaneous pacing); blood pressure, without puncturing the skin (non-invasive blood pressure monitoring); amount of oxygen in the blood (SpO2); number of breaths a patient takes per minute (respiration monitoring); carbon dioxide (CO2) levels; blood pressure.

So, how does it work? Per FDA, "The ZOLL® X Series®, R Series®, AED Pro®, and AED 3 BLS® devices use two multifunction defibrillation electrodes to acquire a patient's electrocardiogram (ECG). If this device detects an abnormal heartbeat, it may advise the user that a high-energy shock is necessary. The user interface will provide voice instructions to guide the user through the rescue process including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The device will provide an audible rhythmic beeping sound to help the user deliver the correct rate of compressions while giving CPR. If a defibrillation shock is required, the device will prompt the user to deliver an electrical shock, through the electrodes."

When the unit detects a shockable rhythm, it charges and issues the warning "PRESS FLASHING SHOCK BUTTON". The rescuer presses the Shock Button to deliver the shock. The rescuer will then be prompted to perform CPR for a period of 2 minutes, after which the unit automatically initiates a new ECG analysis.

As previously stated, the ZOLL® X Series®, R Series®, AED Pro®, and AED 3 BLS® devices should be used only by trained medical personnel to treat both adult and pediatric patients with sudden cardiac arrest or who are unconscious, not breathing, and without a pulse. While most of us 'medical civilians' will still have to rely on our CPR classes and proper training to deliver CPR in an emergency, this is pretty impressive stuff. We've said it here before, but sometimes technology is most interesting when it makes an existing staple of healthcare even better. 


Further Reading:

FDA announcement of recent approval

ZOLL Premarket Approval (PMA)

Zoll FDA approval letter