Background: The Lund University Cardiopulmonary Assist System (LUCAS) is a gas-driven mechanical cardiopulmonary resuscitation device. If oxygen is used as the driving gas in a confined environment, there is a potential fire hazard. 24% oxygen is considered the threshold for increased risk.
Objective and methods: Three trials were conducted using different cabin ventilation settings to determine the rise in oxygen concentration in an MD902 helicopter during use of the LUCAS.
Results: The oxygen concentration rose rapidly with the aircraft at rest, but during flight, using realistic cabin ventilation settings and durations of use, the oxygen concentration failed to reach 24%.
Conclusion: The LUCAS is safe for normal-duration flights in an MD902 helicopter. It is potentially unsafe in a static MD902 and, by extrapolation, in other static aircraft of similar or smaller size such as the EC135 or Bolkow 105.
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Funding: This study was funded by the Kent Air Ambulance Trust.
Competing interests: None.
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