Critical Patients Saved with CPR Machine
at Fresno Heart & Surgical

AutoPulse performing CPRNew technology at Fresno Heart & Surgical Hospital in Fresno, Calif., is helping revive critically ill patients and freeing nurses for more vital tasks during emergencies. The ZOLL AutoPulse® cardiac support pump takes over the work of chest compression during cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.

Registered nurse Shelly Bressoud, clinical coordinator of the hospital’s cardiac evaluation center, says the AutoPulse does a better job than nurses can. “Chest compressions are more consistent in depth and pressure. And the profusion in the body is much better,” she said, describing how the machine’s steady squeezing helps move blood and needed oxygen around the body to vital organs.

The hospital, which is part of the Community Medical Centers network, has used the AutoPulse about 20 times in the past year, said registered nurse Mario Schiltz, the hospital’s clinical nursing educator. He remembered one particularly dramatic save using the AutoPulse pump.

AutoPulse in motionA man in his late 60s, who had a history of cardiovascular problems, was recovering from surgery on his leg when his blood pressure began to plummet and his heart began to beat irregularly and rapidly. A Code Blue emergency was called. Moments after starting CPR manually, the medical team applied the AutoPulse and the device took over the chest compressions. Within 30 seconds, Schiltz described, “The patient started to shake his hands and move his hands and feet. That’s really unusual for cardiac arrest.”

It was so unusual, that Schiltz said medical personnel questioned whether the man was really having a heart attack. “We turned off the machine for about five seconds to check the patient again,” he said. “His blood pressure immediately fell.” As soon as the patient went limp again, the team immediately resumed the AutoPulse and saw the same results. Schiltz said the patient woke up and was able to talk with the doctor to say he wished to continue with the resuscitation effort. The AutoPulse generated enough blood flow to the patient’s brain that he remained conscious and was able to breathe on his own. And when he returned to the recovery area, the man was able to speak with his family right away.

Both Bressoud and Schiltz said in addition to reviving patients, the AutoPulse reduces the amount of nurses needed is such emergencies and helps to calm the situation. “It’s another resource for us,” Bressoud said. “With CPR the recommendation is to switch out people frequently. When you’re doing 100 compressions in a minute you can get really tired fast.” With fewer people needed for the chest compressions, nurses can focus on monitoring vitals and other treatment needs.

Schiltz said he appreciates the noticeable difference in atmosphere with the AutoPulse. During emergencies it can get hectic with lots of people in a small, tight area, and people trying to position themselves for the best angle of compression. With the AutoPulse, “people are able to step back and really look at what was going on with the patient,” he said.

Reprinted by permission of, the official news and information site of Community Medical Centers, Fresno, California. Erin Kennedy reported this story. She can be reached at