When Every Minute Counts

NUI’s Compact Chest Compression Device (NCCD) has life-saving applications in the commercial diving industry

when every minute counts
IMAGES COURTESY OF NUI

The need for a better way to perform CPR in a diving bell was presented by medical researchers during The Bergen International Diving Seminar in November 2019, where the best current practice was to use the head or knee to perform chest compressions – and then there was a new technology on the horizon. NUI AS, based in Norway, has developed and recently released the Compact Chest Compression Device (NCCD), in response to this industry safety demand.

“We developed the NCCD, a low-cost, small, compact and lightweight gas-powered mechanical chest compression device, that is tested for use in hyperbaric environments (300 msw/30 bar) with heliox atmosphere,” said Fredrik Bærheim, HSEQ Advisor at NUI AS, the project manager for the development of the NCCD. “The NCCD can be used while the diver is hanging in a vertical position and while submerged in water.”

A sudden unexpected cardiac arrest (SCD) is a major global public health issue, accounting for up to 20% of deaths in Western societies. Rapid and good cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), combined with a defibrillator (AED) are essential, and improve the chance of survival. Without good CPR after a cardiac arrest, brain damage will occur after just 5 minutes, and the chance of survival decreases by about 10% per minute from the onset of cardiac arrest without treatment. There is often a lack of both good CPR knowledge and an availability of an AED in the workplace.

when every minute counts

Saturation divers live and work in small compact compartments, under hyperbaric pressure, using diving bells and hyperbaric chambers. There have been reported cases of fatal SCD during saturation diving. The space in the diving bells and chambers is very limited, and manual CPR is challenging, and in some situations, impossible. There is a need for mechanical chest compressions during CPR in general, as well as in hyperbaric compartments.

NCCD is powered by compressed gas already available. It contains no electrical parts and has been function tested in a helium atmosphere to a depth of 300 msw. The NCCD (piston unit) will also function while submerged in water. “The NCCD uses compressed gas already available in hyperbaric systems and diving bells. It is designed to run on 10 bar gas pressure that is default in the Build-in-breathing-systems (BIBS),” Bærheim explained.

Underwater Operational

One of the most groundbreaking features of the small device is that it can function fully submerged in water because it has no electrical components. “The NCCD is successfully tested fully submerged in water,” Bærheim said. “The NCCD is delivered with 450 cm long hoses in total and can then be used on a diver outside a diving bell, still in the water. We don’t think that use outside a bell is going to be a common use case, but in some cases it might be necessary. The NCCD can be used in all wet and moist areas where compressed gas is available. A standard portable diving bottle can be used.”

when every minute counts

NCCD Rental Concept

The NCCD can be rented from NUI on a yearly basis from clients anywhere in the world. The NCCD will be replaced yearly in the rental period, so there is no additional cost for maintenance. “The rental concept is easy. Companies contact NUI (post@nui.no) for a rental agreement. The requested number of units is then sent to the customer that pays a yearly rate per unit,” Bærheim said. “Once a year, new units are sent to the customer, and the old units are sent back to NUI for service. The yearly rate covers units and maintenance.” For Diving Support Vessels (DSV), NUI recommends at least one unit in each bell, one in each TUP-chamber that can also be used in the chamber system, and one training unit.

The operational units are sealed, and the seal should not be broken unless an emergency occurs. If used in an emergency, NUI should be notified and a replacement unit will be shipped as quickly as possible. The training units are clearly marked and can be used as needed.

The NCCD has been developed with support from GASSCO, Equinor, Vår Energi, AkerBP, Subsea7, TechnipFMC and Innovation Norway.

when every minute counts