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New CPR board created in Alberta to help with COVID-19 resuscitation

Doctors and nurses wearing their protective gear (blouse, gloves and mask) take care of a patient suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the resuscitation intensive care unit (ICU) of the Hopital Europeen hospital in Marseille, France, 10 September 2020. EPA/Guillaume Horcajuelo

A new piece of medical equipment created at the University of Alberta may help doctors find a quicker and safer way to resuscitate patients who go into cardiac arrest due to COVID-19.

The novel coronavirus can create complications in the lungs, and many patients are placed on their bellies to improve ventilation.

READ MORE: Strokes, ‘lumpy’ lungs: what doctors know about unusual ways coronavirus attacks your body 

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Matthew Douma, an assistant adjunct professor of critical care medicine at the U of A, says if patients go into cardiac arrest, doctors have to turn them onto their backs to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR.

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Turning patients can cause delay and put doctors at risk because they have closer contact with infected patients.

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Douma says he’s part of a group that has created a new CPR board that can be placed under patients while they are prone, with a piece that adds pressure to the chest area while medical staff do compressions on their backs.

The U of A says 10,000 people have already downloaded the design for the board and five hospitals in Brazil are using it.

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