U of Minnesota, local fire department to launch cardiac arrest truck

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The University of Minnesota in Minneapolis plans to launch a fire-truck-sized vehicle that specializes in treating sudden cardiac arrest. The truck will be staffed by the fire department in Edina, Minn., the Sun Current reported Aug. 19. 

The truck is equipped with an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine, or ECMO machine, to create a heart-lung bypass. The machine essentially mimics the function of the heart and lungs, giving physician's more time to assess the cause of a patient's cardiac arrest. 

The vehicle will also include a c-arm fluoroscopy imaging scanner, which helps physicians pinpoint a patient's veins to connect to the ECMO machine, as well as interior cameras that broadcast different angles onto a television screen. It will also have technology to allow cardiologists to connect through virtual reality. 

In addition to Edina firefighter-paramedics, two or three ECMO experts will also staff the truck. Firefighters will receive training to familiarize themselves with the truck's equipment over the next few months, the Sun Current reported. 

The university's center for resuscitation medicine launched the vehicle earlier this year and the Edina City Council agreed to partner on the initiative during an Aug. 4 meeting. 

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