Mechanical Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation's Role in Helicopter Air Ambulances: A Narrative Review

Published:August 16, 2022DOI:


      Helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) frequently respond to out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) situations. Some have speculated mechanical cardiopulmonary resuscitation (mCPR) may be able to rectify the inadequacy of human performance of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) during transport. A number of studies have examined the performance of mCPR devices in the air medical setting specifically. Many aspects of the HEMS environment seem uniquely conducive to mCPR, and a growing body of research seems to suggest mCPR holds promise for the treatment of cardiac arrest by HEMS clinicians. Simulation studies show that mCPR leads to improved CPR performance compared with manual CPR in HEMS. Case reports and the experience of several HEMS programs suggest that mCPR can be effectively integrated into HEMS care. However, further research regarding the effectiveness of mCPR in the HEMS environment and in general cardiac arrest care is needed.
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