Cardiogenic shock is a life-threatening condition in which the lungs cannot oxygenate the blood adequately nor can the heart pump enough blood to sustain life. It’s a dangerous complication with high mortality in patients experiencing a massive heart attack. Devices that work to temporarily perform the function of the heart and lungs are called cardiopulmonary support systems. Often to be effective, they must be connected to a patient quickly and by an experienced team.

Throughout Intermountain, we treat up to 700 patients in cardiogenic shock annually. In the past, some of these patients with irreversible cardiogenic shock were treated at our four hub hospitals by the cardiovascular team with five different support system devices. This meant that if a patient connected to one device was transferred to a hospital using a different device, that hospital’s team would have to splice together the two devices or remove and change over to an entirely different device.

The Cardiovascular Clinical program collaborated with interdisciplinary teams at these hospitals to identify and implement one support system, CardioHelp®, to provide the best care as quickly as possible for these critical patients. CardioHelp® is portable, effective, and designed for rapid initiation. Moreover, all cardiovascular care team members in the four hospitals are experienced in using this device, which when coupled with rapid initiation, increases the patient’s likelihood to survive and recover from such a life-threatening condition.

Trauma scene with female patient_ LifeFlight crew

Andrea Duncan's Story

Andrea Duncan is a young mom. She had a week-old baby, had spent an enjoyable afternoon with her sister, and had just lain down for a nap. She woke up, having difficulty breathing and heaviness in her chest. Andrea was having a heart attack. Her sister, still with her, called 911. The expertise and quick responses from critical care teams at two Intermountain hospitals and the Life Flight crew, along with the assistance of the CardioHelp® cardiopulmonary support device, kept her alive until she was able to receive a heart transplant. Andrea has made a full recovery.