Manager at Aarbakke saved by chest compression machine - Aarbakke AS
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Manager at Aarbakke saved by chest compression machine

The machine gave one employee his life back. Inge Brigt Aarbakke is now looking to ensure that more people in Jæren have access to this essential piece of kit should they have a heart attack.

WRITTEN BY: Erlend Skarsaune Published: 21 December 2012 06:22 at aftenbladet.no (in norwegian) Foto: Jarle Aasland
In early September, an ambulance pulled up in front of a house in Bryne. A father in his late 30’s was in cardiac arrest. It’s early in the morning. His wife has started CPR. When the ambulance crew arrive, they continue with manual compressions.

“There’s no pulse, there’s no pulse” can be heard through the ambulance windows on that warm autumn morning. Yet they carry on.

After fifteen minutes, the air ambulance from Stavanger arrives. On board is a chest compression machine which is connected up to the man in his 30’s. One hour and five minutes after the alarm was raised, the father’s heart begins to beat again. Rolf Thu survives.

- My wife started resuscitation immediately. That was crucial. Those few minutes until the ambulance arrived would have been enough for me not to have made it. And so it’s thanks to the chest compression machine that I’m alive, he says.

A record year
At the Aarbakke factory in Bryne, the employees are having one of their last lunch breaks of the year. The employees look back at their best ever year. Turnover has passed NOK 610 million. Profits have never been higher. The employees will soon be able to go on their Christmas break knowing that there is a record year behind them, and that the future is looking very promising.

For Managing Director Inge Brigt Aarbakke, the past year has been special. His company was saved only by a kind bank when the financial crisis hit Jæren hard. But now everything is like a fairy tale, apart from the founder having a key employee who, for a few weeks, was fighting for his life. Rolf Thu is Production Manager at Aarbakke.

- Rolf has worked here since he was at school. It was very hard for me to deal with, and it had an impact on everyone here. It’s nothing short of fantastic that Rolf is well again, with no damage done, and that he’s back at work. Absolutely amazing, says Aarbakke.

Saved his life
He is wearing a black bag over his shoulder. Inside is a brand-new chest compression machine similar to the one which played such a crucial role in September’s events.

- The ambulance service in Jæren saved his life. But Jæren doesn’t have such a machine - which is called Lucas - with only two in Stavanger and one in Sandnes. So now we wish to donate this machine to the ambulance service in Jæren, says Aarbakke.

Director of the Jæren ambulance service, Lene Heimvik, is very grateful for the gift.

- This will be of benefit to the whole of Jæren. The machine administers precise and thorough compressions, freeing up the ambulance crew to allow them to administer drugs and arrange transportation. It is also difficult to give effective compressions while driving, says Heimvik.

Inge Brigt Aarbakke ga en hjertekompresjonsmaskin til Lene Heimvik og Harald Landa fra Jæren ambulanse i julegave. Den kostet 115.000 kr.
Inge Brigt Aarbakke ga en hjertekompresjonsmaskin til Lene Heimvik og Harald Landa fra Jæren ambulanse i julegave. Den kostet 115.000 kr.

We do everything we can
A member of the ambulance crew, Harald Landa, is also on hand at Aarbakke to receive the gift. He was the first person on the scene that September morning.

- When such a young person suffers a cardiac arrest, you do everything you can to save them. I remember the situation well. It had quite an effect on me, also because there were children there. And we knew that the situation was very serious, says Landa.

He and Heimvik have no doubt that they can make good use of the machine. The catchment area of the ambulance centre at Bekkeheien between Bryne and Nærbø is very wide, all the way from Egersund to Sandnes.

Although the air ambulance has a chest compression machine, they sometimes find that they are unable to come out due to the weather conditions, or because they are already out on another call.

- In such instances, you can feel very alone. If we can save only one life using this machine then it’s worth it. This machine also allows us to buy time so that the patient can be helped at the hospital, says Heimvik.

The chest compression machine is one aspect of a research project (the Lucas project) at Stavanger University Hospital, and is only to be used in accordance with clear guidelines.

- It is not something that will be used for all heart attacks, but as an additional aid when we cannot get the heart working by using our normal procedures using a defibrillator, explains Heimvik.

The project is currently researching the effectiveness of the machine and is looking to scientifically prove whether such a machine increases survival rates.

Saving more lives
When the idea of buying a machine arose, it didn’t take Aarbakke long to decide.

- He was, in principle, dead, but you brought him back to life. If we can contribute to saving more lives, then that’s fantastic, he says.

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