" " MRMC, local ambulances team up

MRMC, local ambulances team up

May 23, 2013

By Marla Toncray
The Ledger Independent

The quicker a person can be diagnosed as having a heart attack, the more heart muscle can be saved.

To that end, a partnership between Meadowview Regional Medical Center and area ambulance/EMS units has been formed using the latest in technology to diagnose heart attack patients while en route to the hospital.

According to Jessica Banta, MRMC emergency room director, the hospital has implemented new computer software which allows emergency medical technicians on board an ambulance to transmit a patient's EKG readings to the ER physician to interpret the reading and determine if a heart attack is happening.

Banta said the equipment and technology behind it decreases the time and evaluation of the patient.  If the patient is having a heart attack, a cardiologist is notified and will determine a plan of treatment.  Having the information available before the patient arrives at the ER also allows time for employees of the heart cath lab to be notified, so procedures of stints or balloons to stop the heart attack will occur within a 90 minute window.  Banta said the national standard is 90 minutes and on average, MRMC is getting the patient from the door to the cath lab in 60 minutes.

Reasons for transmitting EKG readings from the field are better outcomes, lower mortality; improved patient satisfaction; and improved door to procedure times, Banta said.

EMTs responding to 911s calls also benefit, because once a heart attack is ruled out, they can consider respiratory or other issues as the cause of pain.

The new system was implemented in April and to date, Maysville EMS and Ripley, Ohio, EMS are sending transmissions to the hospital.

Banta said her department is working with Lewis County, Aberdeen, Ohio, and Manchester, Ohio, EMS to implement the technology.  She said Bracken County EMS received a $53,000 grant earlier this month to purchase the EKG units for its two ambulances and will soon be using the technology on its ambulance runs.

"Our goal for the next months is to start receiving (transmissions) from them," Banta said.

The implementation of the technology is part of Meadowview's year-long process to receive accreditation from the Center for Chest Pain.  The process involves community partnerships and education, and training of EMS, dispatch employees and cardiologists.

PHOTO CAPTION. Maysville EMT Josh Kirk, left, checks the EKG readings of Meadowview's Director of Imaging Service John Rigby, while EMT Brian White looks on as they demonstrate how an EKG and new computer software in MRMC's intervention cath lab can help save a heart attack victim's life.