Roundup Record Tribune & Winnett Times -

Helmsley Charitable Trust Grants $4.7m to Fund Life-Saving Technology to Confront Cardiac Threat from COVID-19


The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust an¬nounced today a multimillion-dollar effort to save the lives of COVID-19 patients and protect the frontline health¬care workers caring for them.

A total of $4,711,481 in fund¬ing will be distributed across five upper-midwestern states to pay for 367 LUCAS mechani¬cal CPR devices to be deployed to hospitals caring for patients during the pandemic and beyond.

“These devices are vital because we don’t want frontline health¬care workers to choose between trying to save a patient or risk¬ing exposure to themselves and others to the Coronavirus,” said Walter Panzirer, a trustee for the Helmsley Charitable Trust. “LU¬CAS has been a proven, effective tool in saving lives during cardiac arrest, and having more of them available during this pandemic will save even more lives, includ¬ing those of the doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers.”

Research has shown cardi¬ac damage in as many as 1 in 5 COVID-19 patients, lead¬ing to heart failure and death even among those who show no signs of respiratory distress. Among patients who recover, many could have long-term effects from such heart damage.

The rise in cardiac complications caused by COVID-19 exposes both patients and healthcare workers to greater risk, as hands-on CPR can be needed for extended periods and personal protective equip¬ment can become less effec¬tive in keeping the virus from spreading to medical providers.

Mechanical CPR has been ad¬opted by emergency medical responders and many hospitals around the globe, initially due to its ability to deliver extended CPR in compliance with Ameri¬can Heart Association guide¬lines. Multiple studies have demonstrated equivalence to high-performance CPR, as well as increased provider safety and higher rates of adequate com¬pressions for patients in transport situations. Recently, the Depart¬ment of Defense COVID-19 Practice Management Guide identified the LUCAS chest compression system as the best practice for managing patients in cardiac arrest to reduce the risk of exposure to care providers.

The Helmsley Charitable Trust is partnering with medical fa¬cilities in South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, and Nebraska to ensure the de¬vices are in place before the peak of COVID-19 hits. The devices will remain in place af¬ter the pandemic as part of the hospitals’ cardiac system of care.

“We were able to go from con¬cept to delivery of the devices in two weeks, and that’s been an in¬credible effort of teamwork with the manufacturer and the hospi¬tals,” said Panzirer. “It’s won¬derful to see competing entities working together during a na¬tional crisis for the good of all.”


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