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Heartswell’s £10,000 gift is a life-saver

January 2 2013|Uncategorized

Costing £10,000, the ZOLL® AutoPulse® is able to deliver life-saving CPR if the heart suddenly stops so that patients can continue to receive chest compressions whilst undergoing a scan or having an x-ray taken. In normal situations CPR is carried out manually by skilled doctors and nurses but this can’t easily be done whilst a patient is in a scanner or having an x-ray.

heartSWellConsultant Cardiologist, Dr Robin Van-Lingen, said, “This is a fantastic addition to the equipment in our cardiac catheter laboratory where we carry out highly specialist procedures on the major blood vessels around the heart. On the rare occasion when we have a critical event whilst a patient is the lab, the AutoPulse device will allow us to keep doing vital, life-saving, x-ray guided treatment whilst it gets on with CPR.”

Easy to use and battery operated, the AutoPulse is a non-invasive cardiac support pump that uses a load-distributing band fitted around the body to squeeze the entire chest. As a result, patients receive consistent, high-quality compressions to maintain blood flow. The device is able to automatically calculate the size, shape, and resistance of each patient’s chest and essentially functions as an ‘additional person’ in the clinical setting.

Allen Caston, Executive Director for Charity Development at HeartSWell said, “We’d bought a similar machine for the team at Derriford and were keen to see patients in Cornwall benefit as well. Already it’s been put to good use and we see this donation as a stepping stone into a partnership between HeartSWell and RCHT for further projects.”

The Heartswell charity, which fundraises to support cardiac care across Devon and Cornwall, was established after the late Monica Pearce embarked on raising money to help patients who like her own husband at that time, were having to travel long-distances for cardiac surgery.

When, after much lobbying, cardiac surgery became available at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth a number of year’s ago, Heartswell’s fundraising made it possible to build the Heartswell Lodge to accommodate patients and relatives. Having somewhere to stay nearby made life easier for those who were travelling from across Devon and Cornwall . The Lodge is now run by a sister company of the Heartswell charity and has been able to expand its welcome to those going to Derriford for transplants and other specialist surgery.

Monica’s legacy was taken forward by others who joined her fundraising efforts, with branches of Heartswell growing across the two counties. One of the most successful remains the Camelford Branch where Margaret Bosley, Joyce Brown and their team of supporters have raised over £110,000.

Heartswell’s Executive Director for Events, Fundraising and Recruitment David Wells said, “Just about everyone involved in HeartSWell is a cardiac patient or relative themselves, so we really understand what others are going through. That’s why we want to help. What’s been achieved by the Camelford group is quite remarkable – if only we could bottle that!”

As well as buying equipment for hospitals and GP surgeries, the Heartswell Charity offers nurse counselling services for cardiac patients and support for children going to Great Ormond Street Hospital for treatment of heart conditions. The charity’s website www.heartswell.org.uk also provides information resources and healthy living advice.

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