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Home > Topics > EMS Management

Ohio responders, hospital, streamline cardiac responses

Heart attack patients bypass the ER and are sent directly to the catheterization lab, where an awaiting doctor is prepared to provide care

Natalie Trusso Cafarello
The Blade

SYLVANIA TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Sylvania Township Fire Department paramedics and ProMedica Toledo Hospital are working together to improve intervention times when a patient is experiencing a cardiac emergency.

For the past year the two organizations, along with other Toledo-area fire departments, have implemented a protocol in which a patient experiencing a heart attack bypasses the emergency room and is sent directly to the catheterization lab, where the awaiting doctor is already prepared to provide care.

“We had been talking about it for a while and there are institutions around [ProMedica] that can do it. Bottom line, it is better for the patients to lower time and reduce the risk of heart damage,” said Julia Harsh, Toledo Hospital’s chest pain coordinator.

The streamlined program for dealing with patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, a type of serious heart attack, began as a pilot program at the hospital in January. Because of its success the hospital made it a permanent program in July.

The American Heart Association defines a STEMI as the most severe type of heart attack caused by a complete blockage of blood flow to the heart. It says that to “prevent death, it’s critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible by surgically opening the blocked vessel or administering intravenous clot-busting medication.”

Other hospitals in Toledo also can treat STEMIs, including ProMedica St. Luke’s and Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center. For Sylvania and Sylvania Township residents, ProMedica Toledo Hospital is the closest and its protocol has reduced overall treatment time from 60 minutes to an average of 34 minutes, Mrs. Harsh said. That time takes into account the patient’s initial contact with the Township firefighters and the care received at the hospital.

Brent Parquette, training and quality assurance specialist for Lucas County EMS, has been training paramedics for the past 16 years to read electrocardiograms, or ECG tests, which measures a heart’s electrical activity.

Today there are about 400 paramedics in the system who can discern when a patient is having a heart attack and if it is a STEMI. Of these, 55 are Sylvania Township firefighters who double as paramedics.

The township receives about 40 to 50 calls annually related to STEMIs

Each Township fire engine is outfitted with an ECG diagnostic system, which costs about $28,000.

“The paramedic’s role is very crucial. They are the first one on the scene diagnosing the STEMI, starting the initial care with an IV or aspirin,” Mrs. Harsh said.

Mrs. Harsh said paramedics or firemen have assisted doctors inside the cath lab, administering CPR and medicine if a patient goes into cardiac arrest.

“Anything they are licensed to do in the field they are allowed to do here,” she said.


McClatchy-Tribune News Service
©2014 The Blade (Toledo, Ohio)

The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
Chris Mancuso Chris Mancuso Monday, August 18, 2014 6:41:44 PM We have been doing that here for over 4 years now. Just outside of Houston. Not in the city
William Hammond William Hammond Monday, August 18, 2014 6:57:25 PM We have too atleast 5 years now. We go to cath lab and transmit 12 leads and go by air or ground in KY
Greg Marshall Greg Marshall Monday, August 18, 2014 7:12:22 PM My agency has been transmitting 12 leads since 2009 and beginning treatment for a STEMI as soon as it is recognized as such. we are in rural southwestern Virginia and our transport times by ground can be anywhere from 30 minutes to a little over a hour to the facility we go to.. we use the Phillips monitors and LOVE THEM!! a great system with great results
Michael Slentz Michael Slentz Tuesday, August 19, 2014 9:07:31 AM we also use the life pak 15, its an a amazing device that can save lives, we have been transmitting for the past year. its great when you live in the middle of the sticks but in route you can transmit 12 led to the hospital and they will be ready for your patient as soon as you walk threw the door and they also know what to expect and what to be ready for.

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