BariBoard helps deliver more effective CPR for obese

The BariBoard is designed to support the torso and spine during chest compressions on patients weighing more than 275 lbs


By Jamie Thompson
EMS1 Staff

Obesity rates for Americans have more than doubled in the past 30 years — and with it means increased challenges for medics in delivering care.

When it comes to administering CPR at least, a new product unveiled at EMS World Expo is designed to improve success rates for obese-sized patients.

Image Jamie ThompsonKathleen Kornaker, a Cleveland-based recovery room nurse who invented the BariBoard, displays the product at EMS Expo 2011.

Image Jamie Thompson
Kathleen Kornaker, a Cleveland-based recovery room nurse who invented the BariBoard, displays the product at EMS Expo 2011.

The BariBoard aims to help responders deliver more effective compressions by reducing the surface area. It is designed to support the torso and spine during chest compressions on patients weighing more than 275 lbs.

"We like to say the board is elegant in its simplicity, but it can do such an important job," said Kathleen Kornaker, a Cleveland-based recovery room nurse, who invented the board.

"I started to do some research into how to improve CPR in obese-sized people and how we could save more lives," Kornaker said.

"I found out there was nothing wrong in terms of BLS or ALS — it was our tools that were letting us down, and that we had to adapt to their physical characteristics."

The BariBoard measures 27" by 18.5" by 2.25", weighs 6 lbs and is impervious for easy decontaminations. It works by helping to elevate the sternum, redistribute adipose tissue and provide a targeted hard surface to compress against.

"I hope this will help EMS providers increase the success rate of CPR, as obesity is becoming such an epidemic worldwide," Kornaker said.

"It's a tool that can be used for any large-sized person to help save their lives.

"If you're not able to get good compressions, then you're not going to be able to circulate those life-saving drugs to jumpstart the heart. We need to give them a chance."

The BariBoard is manufactured by Rapid Deployment Products, Inc., which is a firefighter/paramedic owned and operated company that prides itself on manufacturing state-of-the-art products for Fire-Rescue, EMS & Law Enforcement. For more information, visit the company's official website.

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