12-Lead EKGs Saving Heart Attack Victims
Technology Reduces Treatment Time at Lakeview Hospital
Lakeview Hospital and local fire department paramedics are saving the lives of more heart attack victims. This hospital is the first in Davis County work with first responders to transmit 12-lead EKG data directly from ambulances to the hospital as patients are transported. The goal is to diagnose heart attacks sooner and save more heart attack victims.
With pre-hospital 12-lead EKGs, detailed heart data are transmitted to the emergency department, a cardiologist and the cath lab at Timpanogos Regional Hospital. This information is analyzed by highly skilled ED personnel as well as the experienced cardiologist. If a heart attack is confirmed, the hospital’s cardiac catheterization and ED teams are immediately activated.
Upon arrival, the patient is taken directly to the hospital’s cath lab, bypassing the emergency department (ED). A lifesaving balloon is inflated in the blocked artery that is causing the patient’s heart attack, which reestablishes blood flow and reduces damage to the cardiac muscle.
“Our goal is to consistently reduce door-to-balloon times when every second counts,” explained Mark Flammer, M.D., an emergency medicine physician at Lakeview Hospital. “In addition to diagnosing earlier with pre-hospital 12-lead EKGs, we have created a streamlined, faster response at the hospital to ensure that every patient we treat for a heart attack receives the best possible care.”
With specially trained early response teams -- in the field and at the hospital – utilizing the pre-hospital 12-lead EKGs, Lakeview Hospital has reduced “door-to-balloon” times by 10-15 minutes. In some cases, blocked arteries are cleared in just over 60 minutes. These times are significantly below the national standard of 90 minutes or less.
To accomplish the goal, the hospital’s cardiac experts and Utah County emergency medical service agencies established criteria that are now utilized to determine the need to run an EKG. If the criteria are met, paramedics quickly attach12 individual leads to the potential heart attack victim en route. Each lead provides important information about the heart’s electrical activity and enables early detection of a heart attack.
It is an old adage, but time truly is muscle when a heart attack strikes. Today, more Davis County heart attack victims are surviving as the specialists at Lakeview Hospital and local paramedics work together to reduce time to treatment.
Dr. Flammer further states, “Our local EMS teams are doing a wonderful job of delivering cutting-edge cardiac care while transporting our patients. These paramedics are providing a great service to our community.”
Along with implementing this advanced technology, Lakeview Hospital has improved protocols for treating heart attacks. Its cath lab stands ready at all hours for incoming heart attack victims and several cardiologists are available within minutes. As a result, the average length of stay for a patient following a heart attack is 1.1 days.
More About “Door-to-Balloon” Times
One million Americans have an acute myocardial infarction or heart attack annually, and half a million of those sufferers die. According to a national study in 2007, patients who received proper treatment for a ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) within 90 minutes of hospital arrival had only a three percent in-hospital mortality rate.
This number increased to 4.2 percent when delays in treatment fell between 91 to 120 minutes and elevated to 5.7 percent if 121 to 150 minutes lapsed. When treatment was delayed for more than 150 minutes, mortality rates increased to 7.4 percent.