More people in the Midlands could survive heart attacks after an ambulance service became the first in the world to equip all its vehicles with life-saving technology.
Staffordshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust has invested about £600,000 in the Lucas devices, which provide chest compressions, for all its vehicles.
Trust bosses have revealed a significant increase in patients' chances of survival since pilot tests using the equipment began in March.
Before then, it successfully resuscitated between 17 and 20 per cent of patients. That figure has now risen to 27 per cent.
While this is above the national average of seven to 11 per cent, the trust hopes to reach 35 per cent by September.
In comparison, West Midlands Ambulance Service achieved a resuscitation rate of just four per cent last year, while figures for Coventry and Warwick Ambulance Service show that between January 2003 to January 2005 18 per cent of heart attack patients were revived.
Staffordshire's ambulances and emergency vehicles will still carry the defibrillators currently used to resuscitate patients when their heart stops.
But experts at Lund University, in Stockholm, Sweden - where the Lucas device was developed - believe paramedics have become over-reliant on defibrillation, which can put patients at risk.
Colin Thomas, the trust's head of clinical services, said the new devices represented a major step forward in improving heart attack survival rates.
He said: "Although there have been improvements in some aspects of cardiac care in the past decade or so, the long term survival of patients suffering heart attacks has not increased during this period.
"The last major study done in the UK was eight or nine years ago which showed that with people who suffered cardiac arrests, only two per cent of those lived to leave hospital. That figure hasn't changed since then.
"There are a handful of other services in the world that have some Lucas machines but, as far as I know, we are the only service to equip every emergency vehicle with these devices."
The trust has bought 102 machines to equip its 87 vehicles, and 15 to be used for training, which will all be installed by the end of July.
A single defibrillator can cost between £1,000 and £1,500 but one Lucas device costs nearly five times more.
Mr Thomas added: "Lucas is a lot more expensive but what price can you put on a life?"