101 Town Center, P.O. Box 5655, Bella Vista, AR 72714 (479)876-1255

BVFD first in nation for new technology on ambulances


Bella Vista Fire and EMS Department continues to pave the way in emergency medicine in Arkansas, and now in the nation.

This week, the department deployed cerebral oximetry machines on two ambulances. They are the first EMS service in the U.S. to provide this technology on an ambulance.

This technology allows paramedics to monitor blood flow to the brain in real time, said EMS Coordinator Leon Lieutard. It allows the brain activity of those who are sedated to be monitored, to ensure positive outcomes and to provide a higher standard of care, he said.

The monitor can be used in situations such as cardiac arrest, traumatic brain injuries or any time a patient’s airway has been compromised or the patient is unable to maintain the integrity of his or her airway.

“Paramedics use paralytics when intubating patients when there is a potential to gag,” Lieutard said. “However, some paralytic meds last longer than sedation meds. A paralyzed patient can’t tell the medic they are not sedated, or they need more sedation. With the ability to monitor brain activity, this is no longer an unknown.”

The technology also allows paramedics to see that blood is getting to the brain, and lets them optimize that blood flow by positioning the patient or offering different treatments.

BVFD personnel were thoroughly trained on these machines prior to deploying them on the ambulances. The two units were purchased using funds from the state, through programs that fund trauma systems.