Shock sheet may save heart attack victims

Sept. 10, 2003 at 9:35 PM

EAST SURREY, England, Sept. 10 (UPI) -- A device that's similar to an inflatable sleeping bag could make the difference between life and death after a heart attack.

New Scientist magazine says the so-called "shock sheet" works by squeezing blood from a person's legs, which boosts blood flow to one's heart and brain.

The "shock sheet" is designed to be wrapped around a patient and inflated to raise upper body blood pressure within 30 seconds. And it can be put in place while normal CPR is being applied.

Inventor Mark Wilson, an anesthetist at Britain's East Surrey Hospital, told New Scientist: "This device buys you time. It's a cheap and simple way to save lives."

Wilson said heart disease is a leading cause of death in western countries, and a quarter of the people who suffer a heart attack die before they reach a hospital. Experts believe the shock sheet could help save some of them.

The BBC said the research could also help other patients who suffer catastrophic falls in blood pressure, such as those who suffer massive bacterial infections or anaphylactic shock.

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