Lincoln Fire and Rescue (LFR) has received the American Heart Association's Mission: Lifeline® EMS Silver Award for implementing improvements in for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks.
When responding to heart attacks, LFR uses EKG machines with 12 leads (connections to the patient) to determine if the patient is experiencing the blockage of blood flow to the heart. To keep a patient alive, blood flow must be restored as quickly as possible Every year, more than 250,000 people experience this type of heart attack called a STEMI, or ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction.
Using the 12-lead EKG speeds treatment because EKG information is sent by cellular modem to the emergency room. Doctors can review the results and share them with a cardiologist by cell phone. When patients arrive at the hospital, they often do not need to stop in the emergency room, but can go directly to the catheterization lab for a balloon angioplasty to open the blocked artery.
"EMTs and paramedics play a vital part in the system of care for those who have heart attacks," said Nancy Brown, Chief Executive Officer of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. "Since they often are the first medical point of contact, they can shave precious minutes of life-saving treatment time by activating the emergency response system that alerts hospitals. We applaud Lincoln Fire and Rescue for achieving this award that shows it meets evidence-based guidelines in the treatment of people who have severe heart attacks."
LFR has been obtaining 12-lead EKGs for use in the field since 2005. Since 2010, the front line medic units have had the capability to transmit the 12-lead EKGs from the patient's side to the emergency room using the Physio LifePak 15, which includes a monitor and defibrillator. The cellular modems transmit the EKGs through the LifeNet system directly to the hospital. In 2014, LFR transmitted 2,152 12-lead EKGS to Bryan Health East, CHI Health St. Elizabeth and the Nebraska Heart Hospital. In the first four months of this year, 864 have been transmitted. More information on LFR is available at fire.lincoln.ne.gov.
The American Heart Association's Mission: Lifeline® program helps hospitals and emergency