IDPH Receives More Than $6 Million to Improve CPR

Automated CPR machines are more consistent than humans

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has received a $6.3 million grant to help save the lives of Iowans experiencing cardiac arrest both in and out of the hospital. The grant, awarded by The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, will be administered by the IDPH Bureau of Emergency and Trauma Services (BETS).
The bulk of the grant funds will be used to place LUCAS® 2 Chest Compression System devices in ambulances and hospitals across the state, and to provide training for their use. The LUCAS device provides automated chest compressions, meaning CPR can be performed longer and more consistently.
“Studies have shown that two people can only perform uninterrupted CPR for 5-10 minutes because of fatigue,” said IDPH BETS chief Rebecca Curtiss. “These automated LUCAS compression devices could be the difference-maker in saving the lives of those experiencing a heart attack.”
A limited number of automatic compression devices are currently in use in Iowa, and have shown positive results. The devices are able to maintain a higher flow of blood to the brain and heart, compared to manual compressions – this has been shown to improve the positive outcomes of CPR in cardiac arrest patients from an average of 0-5 percent to as high as 40-50 percent.
Each LUCAS® 2 Chest Compression System costs about $10,000, making it difficult for smaller EMS agencies or hospitals to purchase. This grant will dramatically increase the number of units available throughout the state.
The Helmsley Charitable Trust supports nonprofits and other mission-aligned organizations in the U.S. and around the world in health, place-based initiatives, and education and human services. Currently holding more than $5 billion in assets, the Trust has committed over $1.5 billion since it began active grant making in 2008.
The Trust’s Rural Healthcare Program funds innovative projects that use information technologies to connect rural patients to emergency medical care, bring the latest medical therapies to patients in remote areas, and provide state-of-the-art training for rural hospitals and EMS personnel. To date, this program has awarded more than $277 million to organizations and initiatives in the upper Midwest states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Minnesota, Iowa and Montana. For more information on the Trust and its programs, visit

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Office Number: (641) 592-4222
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