New Technology in Baltimore Ambulances Could Save 15 Minutes -- and Lives - @ JEMS.com


New Technology in Baltimore Ambulances Could Save 15 Minutes -- and Lives


 
 

Anne Riley | | Friday, August 15, 2008


BALTIMORE -- Every second counts during a heart attack. That's why St. Joseph Medical Center and Baltimore County EMS have teamed up to install new technology in 15 county ambulances that doctors say may get patients treated up to 15 minutes sooner.

"The ability to shave off a little bit of time may make a big difference," said Dr. Mark Midei, director of cardiac catheterization at the hospital. "It may mean the difference between life and death or disability and being able to return to work after [a heart attack]," he said.

The new technology, installed into 25 percent of the county's ambulance fleet as part of a six-month pilot program, allows paramedics to wirelessly transmit electrocardiograms, or EKGs, recording the heart's activity directly to the hospital's Emergency Department. There, a doctor can interpret the reading and make a plan for treatment before the patient even arrives on site.

"Now with this technology, the pressure is off [the paramedics]," said Dr. Gail Cunningham, chief of the Emergency Department at the medical center. "They're focusing on the patient. We're focusing on the EKG. "

According to Cunningham, it takes St. Joseph's an average of 50 minutes between when a patient is picked up by paramedics and when his arteries are reopened in the emergency room. Cunningham said this is about 40 minutes faster than the national average.

"If I could shave off five or 10 minutes [more], I'd be delighted," Midei said.

Called the LifeNet STEMI Management Solution system, the new technology is specifically aimed at reducing the treatment time for STEMI heart attack victims. STEMI heart attacks require immediate treatment and are "the most lethal type of heart attack," Midei said.

"This is the type of heart attack most likely to cut people down in their prime," he added.

According to Cunningham, the program will cost $22,000 to operate for six months.

EMS Captain Steve Adelsberger said that he expects to see other hospitals implement the technology in the future.

"This is where treatment of heart attack prevention is moving nationally," he said.




Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Cardiac and Circulation, Patient Management

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Advancement

This is the seventh year of the EMS 10 Innovators in EMS program, jointly sponsored by Physio-Control and JEMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Press Conference, East Village Explosion and Collapse

Fire is contained to four buildings; 12 people have been injured.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Mayor Adds Ambulances to Peak Demand Period

10 additional ambulances will be on the streets from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Utah Commission Privatizes Ambulance Service

Mayors in Iron County loose management fight.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Ambulance Delay Raises Concerns over Response Times

Officers give up after waiting 20 minutes for an ambulance.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Patient Carry during Snowstorm

Firefighters, medics and officers lend a hand in Halifax.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Terror Attack in Tunisia

19 people killed outside of a museum.
More >