MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — You never know when inspiration will strike — like in the middle of a heart attack when a loved one’s life is on the line and you decide a toilet plunger could come in handy.

The CPR technology first appeared in 2005 and Hennepin County Medical Center has just released medical research from the past five years on the device called the ResQ system.

If you have a heart attack in America, your odds of surviving long enough to be discharged from the hospital are a dismal 6 percent even with CPR.

For the past five years, a thousand Minnesota first responders in seven-cities trained to use the ResQ system. Of the 2,470 heart attack victims they treated, 53 percent more of the patients survived.

“Not just survival, it had to be survival with good quality neurologic outcome,” said Dr. Brian Mahoney who is HCMC’s Director for Emergency Medical Services and one of the researchers.

He said bringing survival up to 9 percent may not sound dramatic but it’s a huge change.

“And if you apply that over the hundreds of thousands of people who have a cardiac arrest every year in the United States we’d be talking about many thousands of people,” said Mahoney.

Twin Cities Dr. Keith Lurie actually came up with the idea for the ResQ pump when the family of a patient revived a loved one with a common bathroom plunger, because they found it helped them do more effective CPR.

“So you push down and then you actively lift up. And that actively lifting up creates a lot more negative intrathorasic pressure. It sucks more blood back into the chest. More blood there can then be available on the next compression,” said Mahoney.

The benefit is enhanced with a ResQ pod added to the breathing bag.

With FDA approval, the devices should be back in medical rescuers hands in 1 to 2 years.

ResQ’s inventor, Lurie, started a Roseville company called Advanced Circulatory Systems which is now working to get FDA approval for the device and get it on the market. The results of the study are in the latest edition of the Journal Lancet.

WCCO-TV’s Dennis Douda Reports

Comments (3)
  1. Arne says:

    It is important to distinguish between a heart attack and heart arrest. Your statement ,”If you have a heart attack in America, your odds of surviving long enough to be discharged from the hospital are a dismal 6 percent even with CPR,” should read “heart arrest”. Most patients with heart attacks do not have their hearts arrest.

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