A state-of-the-art, life-saving vehicle is ready to respond 24/7 to the West Metro. Mobile ECMO trucks provide specialized care to cardiac arrest patients. It is the first of its kind in the world to hit the road.
“We weren’t reaching patients as quickly as we wanted, so we decided instead of patients coming to us, we had to find a way for our team to reach patients,” said Dr. Demetris Yiannopoulos, a professor and professor of rehabilitation at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Director of Medicine Center.
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Its size is attractive and it is equipped with technology usually found only in some hospitals. It has been designed from scratch with the help of multiple experts to have the capability and durability to provide mobile cardiac care, even in the most extreme weather conditions.
An ECMO machine is centrally located in the vehicle. ECMO stands for Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation, and it pumps blood when the heart and lungs fail.
“We can control circulation by inserting tubes into the patient’s veins and arteries, extract the blood and oxygenate it, pressurize it and pump it back,” Yiannopoulos explained. “Effectively it bypasses the heart and lungs.”
“You have everything you need to get through the day, but in this case it gives us the stability to take care of everything the patient needs,” he added.
It has been located at the Edina Fire Department station since May. Paramedics receive extensive training to support the medical team performing the procedure.
“There’s a lot of excitement about being a part of a program like this,” said EMS Chief Ryan Quinn. “They’ve hit it on the head, they’ve worked hard, and I’m very impressed with the amount of dedication and work that’s been put in.”
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When a call comes in, a team of two to three paramedics drives to a specific location. Quinn explained that they use a custom lift to bring the patient into the car, where Yiannopoulos or another physician will work with a LifeLink medic to perform the procedure.
“The Edina fire guys will be on the front lines preparing the medicine and getting all the equipment ready to perform the procedure with as much support as they can get,” Quinn said.
Once the patient is connected to the ECMO machine, they are transferred to an ambulance. The patient goes to the hospital while the ECMO truck returns to the fire station to be cleaned and restocked.
They have treated six patients so far. Because this is breakthrough technology, ambulances currently meet trucks in the Southdale Hospital parking lot so there are backup resources nearby. According to Quinn, it will be ready to go out into the community after they treat a few more patients.
“We’ll take it further south, west, northwest and in directions so we can increase the number of people helping it,” Quinn said. “The more we do this, hopefully the more the program will grow and hopefully more programs will be created around the country.”
Yiannopoulos came up with the idea in 2017 Engineers started developing the truck in 2019 The vehicle took about a year and a half to build and then its launch was delayed due to the pandemic
This is a continuation of ongoing work by the Minnesota Mobile Resuscitation Consortium, which launched a fleet of mobile ECMO SUVs in 2019. The MMRC team takes an ECMO machine to the patient’s nearest hospital.
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“It’s a program that’s really unique because it relies on collaboration between multiple medical systems and hospitals, and it can’t be easily replicated unless there’s a real willingness to come together in the community,” Yiannopoulos said. “What we saw was that we were able to save 40 percent of patients.”
The new truck takes this response a step further by reaching patients directly. It expands ECMO access across the west metro.
“We don’t have a hospital that we can actually collaborate with that far,” he said. “There’s a very large suburban population living in the West, Northwest and Southwest, who could benefit from this.”
According to the University of Minnesota Medical School, it is Leona M. and Harry B. A collaborative initiative funded by an $18.6 million grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust and grants from industry and private donors. Other recognized donors are Zoll Medical, Stryker Emergency Care, Getting Inc. and General Electric. Health care system partners include Fairview Health Services, Region Hospitals (HealthPartners), and North Memorial HealthCare System, MHealth contracts with Fairview, HealthPartners, U of M Physicians, Hennepin HealthCare, and LifeLink III for physician services. including partnerships. .