Paramedic: New Cardiac Monitors ‘a Tool to Help Us Do Our Job Better’

By July 23, 2015LACoFD News
The new Zoll X-Series Monitor Defibrillators will be rolled out to the field Aug. 1. Photo by Douglas G. Morrison.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department’s new Zoll X-Series Monitor Defibrillators will help paramedics perform more effective CPR, hopefully leading to even more positive outcomes for patients.

“The technology and their ability to read EKGs is way better,” said Fire Department Medical Director Dr. Clayton Kazan about the new monitors.

According to Kazan and Fire Fighter Paramedic Chad Sourbeer, the state-of-the-art monitors are lighter in weight; equipped with WiFi and a 3G signal; faster at measuring vital signs; better at measuring carbon dioxide levels; and able to measure a patient’s carbon monoxide level, among other features.

The See-Thru CPR technology, which separates the CPR compressions and the patient’s underlying heart rhythm, is a big plus, Sourbeer said. Previously, paramedics had to stop CPR to see if a patient’s heart rhythm had changed.

“Every time we stop, the patient suffers,” Sourbeer said. “This will allow us to keep continuous CPR going and still let us see the heart rhythm underneath … The rhythm is going to determine how we treat the patient.”

The technology also monitors the depth and pace of CPR.

“If a responder is starting to get tired, it will show in the monitor that we’re not giving as efficient CPR, and it’s time to change out,” Sourbeer said. “It records our time and our performance, as well.”

With the press of a button, the monitor uses WiFi or a 3G signal to upload the data to the hospital and the Fire Department’s servers. There will be no more reliance on memory cards or a phone’s Bluetooth connection.

Fire Department officials can examine the data to find opportunities to improve care. These lessons will then be incorporated into future training sessions, Kazan said. Ultimately, he hopes the monitor’s feedback will lead to even better outcomes for patients.

The introduction of the monitors comes as the Fire Department works toward a switch to electronic patient care records.

“As we begin working on developing our ePCR, the new Zoll technology will allow the movement of data from the monitor into the patient’s PCR,” Kazan said.

The Fire Department is in the process of teaching more than 1,300 paramedics how to use the X-Series monitor. Sourbeer said the monitors should be rolled out to the field by the beginning of August.

“It’s a tool to help us do our job better,” Sourbeer said. “Ultimately, it’s the paramedic that determines how successful the run goes, but these tools make our job better and … more efficient.”