Automatic Compression Devices (LUCAS)

Automatic compression devices deliver mechanical chest compressions for patients in cardiac arrest. These devices deliver high-quality chest compressions, allowing the EMS team to focus on other necessary patient care tasks. There are several versions of these devices on the market with similar features. Defer to manufacturer recommendations for device specific application steps.

To begin mechanical compressions:

  1. Assess the presence of a carotid pulse for no more than 10 seconds watching for chest rise and fall.
  2. Begin manual chest compressions if pulseless.
  3. Deploy mechanical compression device from bag or storage case.
  4. Coordinate with team members to place the back plate behind the patient.
  5. Pull the release rings to open the lock clips on the device.
  6. Maintain manual chest compressions throughout deployment with minimal interruptions.
  7. Approach the patient from the opposite side of the rescuer performing chest compressions.
  8. Ensure the backplate is centered on the sternum.
  9. Attach the mechanical compression device to the backplate starting with the side closest to you. Then connect the opposite side.
  10. Turn on the device.
  11. Press the “ADJUST” button to lower the suction cup to the patient’s chest.
  12. Press the “START” button and select compression timing ACTIVE 30:2 or ACTIVE continuous compressions.
  13. Apply the neck strap behind the patient’s neck with the padding side towards the patient.
  14. Apply the arm straps around the wrist of the patient bilaterally securing arms to the device.
  15. The 3 straps must be applied for stabilization of the device to the patient.

Additional considerations:

  • Can only be applied if the patient fits the manufacturer’s size requirements for the device.
  • Minimize interruptions in chest compressions. (Review coronary artery perfusion during CPR.)
  • Follow manufacturer’s recommendations for analyzing and shocking while mechanical compression device is active.
  • If device failure occurs, return to manual compressions being sure to rotate compressors every 2 minutes.
  • Moving the patient:

a. Pause the device while you lift the patient to the gurney or backboard for extrication from the scene.

b. Handles are located on the side of the device to lift the patient and device. Consider using a backboard to move the patient from the ground to the stretcher.

c. Immediately resume compressions once the patient is safely moved to the stretcher.

LUCAS device equipment, including backboard and straps in place on patient.

Image by Hunini, licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0.

Lucas Device Skill Verification Table

Mechanical Compression Device

1 Student

2 Student

Instructor (Signoff)


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Oregon EMS Psychomotor Skills Lab Manual Copyright © 2023 by Chris Hamper, BS, NRP; Carmen Curtz, Paramedic, BS; Holly A. Edwins, Paramedic, B.S.; and Jamie Kennel, PhD, MAS, NRP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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