Since the inception of our paramedic program, numerous advances in equipment have been made. Originally, paramedics used a 25-pound radio to contact the physician located in the emergency room and to transmit the EKG they were seeing in the field. This radio has been replaced with a cell phone weighing less than 8 ounces.
In the past paramedics used the LifePak V to monitor a patient’s EKG and provides defibrillation when needed.
Current monitoring is accomplished with the LifePak XII which provides 12-Lead EKG, defibrillation, cardioversion, and serves as a cardiac pacemaker, will monitor blood pressures, blood oxygen saturations and exhaled carbon dioxide levels. The unit can also fax the patient’s EKG to the physician at the hospital via a cell phone.
The 12-Lead EKG, different than what was obtained in the past, gives a complete view of the heart’s electrical systems and can definitively identify a need for heart catherization immediately upon arrival at the emergency room.