Technology Speeds Attack on Heart Attack - @

Technology Speeds Attack on Heart Attack


Pamela Manson | | Wednesday, July 15, 2009

OREM - Even before an ambulance crew rolls a heart attack victim through the doors at Timpanogos Regional Hospital, doctors have diagnosed the problem. With a treatment plan ready and a medical team assembled, the patient bypasses the emergency room and is sent straight to the cardiac lab for the insertion of a balloon to unblock an artery.

More lives and heart muscle are saved the faster a heart attack is diagnosed and a balloon inserted. The national standard for door-to-balloon time is 90 minutes. But thanks to a new technology, Timpanogos physicians can clear a blocked artery in less than an hour.

In one recent case, the hospital had a 23-minute door-to-balloon time. Since last year, Timpanogos and the Orem Fire Department have been transmitting detailed information from 12-lead EKGs from the field to physicians at the hospital while patients are in transit. An EKG, or electrocardiogram, is a recording of the electrical activity of the heart from leads attached to a patient's chest. A 12-lead EKG gives a full view of the heart; with 3-lead EKGs, which previously were used, only one area of the heart is shown.

In Orem, the EKG is sent by cell phone to a hospital computer, where a physician determines if a heart attack has occurred and where in the heart the damage is located. The doctor can give treatment instructions to paramedics in the ambulance and have a cardiac team waiting when the patient arrives. The doctors previously had to wait for the ambulance to arrive to read the results.

The use of pre-hospital 12-lead EKGs gets a thumbs-up from medical personnel and patients. Capt. Ryan Peterson of the Orem Fire Department, said paramedics use the technology daily. "We've had multiple cases of improved outcomes," he said. Ron Barlow, an emergency physician at Timpanogos, said every second counts because heart cells are dying and they do not grow back. "Using a 12-lead is sort of like replacing a winding road with an expressway," Barlow said. "It's great technology."

impanogos, which is part of MountainStar Medical Group, is the only hospital in Utah County transmitting EKG data directly from the ambulance to the emergency room. The procedure also is used at Lakeview Hospital, a MountainStar facility in Bountiful.

Patient Keith Newport says he's living proof of the technology's benefits. The 59-year-old collapsed at home in January while exercising and was taken five miles by ambulance in a snowstorm to Lakeview. Mike Shafto, a South Davis Metro Fire paramedic, attached a 12-lead to Newport's chest and said he immediately realized that the situation was critical. A medical team was assembled and 37 minutes after Newport came through the hospital doors, the artery causing his heart attack was cleared.

He was discharged from Lakeview two days later. "I can't tell you how relieved I was to find people waiting," Newport said. "I not only didn't suffer any ill effects, I feel better."

Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Cardiac and Circulation, Communications and Dispatch, Leadership and Professionalism, Technology, Patient Management, Research

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox


Fire EMS Blogs

Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts


EMS Airway Clinic

Improving Survival from Cardiac Arrest Using ACD-CPR + ITD

Using active compression-decompression CPR with an ITD has been shown to improve 1-year survival from cardiac arrest by 33%.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

FDNY Rescues Boy on Frozen River

Video captures rescue on the Bronx River.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

Three Injured in Philadelphia Collapse

Parapet wall falls through roof of store.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

Explosion Shakes Mexico Hospital

Rescuers search ruins of children’s hospital.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Hands On February 2015

Here’s a look at this month’s product hands on.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Nightwatch Series Premiere Party

JEMS Editor-in-Chief A.J. Heightman attends the series premiere of A&E's new reality show, "Nightwatch."
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >

More Product Videos >