(EFFINGHAM, IL) – Each year, 1.2 million Americans will suffer a cardiac emergency. About one third of these patients will die before they reach the hospital for one critical reason: A delay in receiving crucial medical treatment. The physicians and colleagues of the Prairie Heart Institute of Illinois network of community hospitals are working to reduce this statistic and improve heart health awareness by letting patients know: ‘It’s About Time – Always Dial, Never Drive’.
When it comes to heart health, every second counts. By dialing 911, you can begin to receive diagnosis and treatment while traveling to the hospital and ensure top heart experts are informed of your specific condition and ready for your arrival. Saving this time can mean the difference between a treatable condition and irreversible heart damage – and even between life or death.
Patients in the Effingham area have access to the highest quality heart care right in their own community hospital, through Prairie Heart Institute’s network. Prairie Heart Institute, a nationally recognized leader in heart care, connects hospitals and emergency responders to accelerate care when it matters most. Hospitals participating in the network put in place the top protocols to promote rapid treatment for heart attack patients, allowing them to provide the fastest and highest level of heart care in their area.
LIFENET: Life-Saving Technology
Prairie Heart Institute at HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital recently implemented the LIFENET System. In the event of a heart attack, this technology allows for critical information to be sent electronically from the patients through emergency responders who send it to the hospital. This enables the hospital to be better prepared to take care of the exact heart issues patients are experiencing as soon as they arrive.
LIFENET strives to reduce the amount of time it takes for patients who experience a dangerous form of heart attack known as STEMI (ST elevation myocardial infarction) to get the care they need by transmitting information from the ambulance directly to the hospital before the patient ever arrives. STEMI poses a serious threat to the heart muscle, and the quicker patients receive treatment, the more likely they are to have a positive outcome.
The LIFENET System allows emergency responders to transmit a 12-lead electrocardiogram (EKG) and other emergency information from the ambulance directly to the emergency room at St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital.
This technology replaces the practice of faxing the EKG from the ambulance to the ER. This new LIFENET technology is much more efficient in sending the EKG electronically to the ER; it can even be set up to be transmitted directly to doctors’ cell phones. Receiving this critical information in advance helps save time to treatment in the emergency department as they can prepare for the patient’s arrival while the patient is being transported by ambulance.
The system uses the latest digital technology, which is fast and reliable. Through a grant from the Prairie Heart Foundation, St. Anthony’s has currently deployed LIFENET adapters with Abbott EMS, Jasper County EMS and Toledo Ambulance services.
“This is fantastic technology,” said Dr. Kevin Oliver, emergency department physician at St. Anthony’s. “The critical aspect of this process is for patients to understand the importance of calling 911 if they experience any symptoms of a heart attack, no matter how mild or severe. The ambulances now have the ability to transmit information that helps us prepare before the patient ever arrives, which saves time and lives.”
Research shows that many Americans wait two hours or more before seeking medical attention for heart attack symptoms, and far too many heart attack patients drive themselves or have a family member drive them to the hospital.
Every heart attack is different, but common symptoms include pressure in the chest or arms and shortness of breath. When you experience these symptoms, or feel you may be having a heart attack, time is critical.
Take steps now to be aware of the warning signs of a heart attack and discuss a plan with your family to dial 911 right away if these symptoms occur. Placing that call saves time that can be better spent diagnosing, stabilizing and treating your condition.
For more information about the Prairie Heart Institute, visit the thedoctorsofprairie.com.
Photo: In HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Department, Kenny Harris, RN (left), and Dr. Kevin Oliver, emergency department physician at St. Anthony’s, view a test pattern of the hospital’s LIFENET System from a local emergency responder. This life-saving technology allows for critical information to be sent electronically from patients suffering a heart attack through emergency responders who send it to the hospital.