By Andrew Liszewski
There’s no question that CPR saves lives, however, Sudden Cardiac Arrest still accounts for some 350,000 deaths annually in the US alone. And that’s because the average rescuer is only able to perform effective chest compressions for about 2 minutes before tiring, which is far shorter than typical emergency response times of 8 to 10 minutes. But the LifeBelt, developed by Thomas Lach of Deca-Medics Inc., is a compact, lightweight device that allows CPR compressions to be performed with about half as much force, meaning a rescuer can do them for longer, increasing the likelihood of resuscitation.
The LifeBelt attaches to the victim in less than 15 seconds, and it includes an intuitive readout that warns the rescuer if the compression depth is too deep or too shallow, so they know they’re doing it properly. At the moment the LifeBelt appears to only be a fully-functioning concept, as it won the grand prize in the 2008 Create The Future Design Contest, but hopefully that success means it will eventually be a real product available to the public.