NEWS | Nov. 5, 2016

Automatic Chest Compression Device Customer Demonstration

By Staff Sgt. Ashley Hayes 172nd Public Affairs Detachment

“We are doing a proof of concept demonstration today with the Vermont Guard and we’re going to be looking at form, fit, function and usability inside the aircraft,” said Army Lt. Col. Joseph A. Dominguez III, chief of the material test and evaluation branch of the U.S. Army Medical Department Board. “This is purely a proof of concept and is not a test. We are going to see what they think about is as far as space accommodations.”

The day started with a classroom demonstration of the basic use of each device. Soldiers were then given some hands-on time with each one. Letters were used to identify each device, such as device A, instead of manufacturer name, to keep a non-biased atmosphere. Soldiers were also given forms to provide feedback about the functionality, form, and fit of each device.

“There’s no judgment of the manufacturers,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Carlton Quenneville, crew chief with Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion 126th Aviation (Air Ambulance). “The idea is to just try them out in the aircraft and see how they are actually going to perform with the height requirements and limited space.”

Following the classroom demonstration, the flight paramedics took turns using each device inside of the aircraft. This was done at a slow pace so measurements and discussions could take place. The plan was to test each device with one, two and three soldiers assisting. These devices have been used in a civilian capacity, but adapting them to be used in a military aircraft was one of the main goals in mind.

Many considerations were discussed during the demonstrations such as the battery life, where to store them when in flight, and how easily they can be placed on a casualty given the small space provided.

“This testing is important because with the small amount of room that we have in the aircraft, it is very difficult to perform CPR [cardio pulmonary resuscitation],” said Quenneville. “So by having this device, we’re actually able to keep some of that energy level in order for us to assess the patients and treat other patients in the aircraft.”

Significant preparation was required to prepare for the ACCD testing. Dominquez described that there are four different devices, all of the devices had to meet what is called essential characteristics or requirements such as having Federal Drug Administration approval for medical use.

The USAMEDDBD has worked previously with the Vermont National Guard to incorporate other medical equipment, so the team was happy to come together again. The purpose of getting the ACCD approved for use in flight is so the flight paramedics can provide care for patients who not only need CPR, but also have other traumatic wounds. The ACCD’s would allow them to provide more comprehensive efficient care and save more lives in the process.

Dominguez said the testing is important because there was a capability gap identified in the deployment environment. Soldiers with multiple injuries may have needed chest compressions as well as other trauma treatment, and it was not always possible to provide both treatments at once.

“This is important to save lives down range,” said Dominquez.

More steps will be needed to get an ACCD approved for flight use.

“My staff will go back and analyze the data and prepare a technical memorandum and then decide if further testing is needed, such as operational testing and to obtain needed certifications,” said Dominquez.

Overall, the testing was a positive experience and keeps the communication line open for future testing of new technology.

“I thank the Vermont Guard for hosting us, they’ve always been very receptive to hosting any of our testing and we hope to come back and do further testing with them,” said Dominguez.