In celebration of February being Heart Month and in recognition of the important role that Emergency Medical Services play in the chain of survival for heart attack patients, The Medical Center recognized Air Evac Lifeteam today during a presentation at the local Air Evac Lifeteam base.
“EMS providers throughout Southcentral Kentucky are valued members of the patient care team for the treatment of STEMI, a deadly form of heart attack,” said Connie Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer of Commonwealth Health Corporation, parent company of The Medical Center. “Air Evac Lifeteam’s participation in The Medical Center’s Regional STEMI Network is vital in providing timely treatment for STEMI patients, reducing damage to the patient’s heart and saving lives.”
STEMI, or ST elevation myocardial infarction, is caused by a blocked coronary artery that results in a sudden loss of blood flow to the heart. This loss of blood flow leads to destruction of heart tissue if flow is not restored quickly. The optimal treatment for STEMI is getting the blocked artery open and blood flowing again to the heart muscle by performing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), more commonly known as balloon angioplasty, which is done in the Cardiac Cath Lab. But to be most effective, patients need to get to the Cath Lab as soon as possible from the time of onset of symptoms.
STEMI patients arriving at The Medical Center receive PCI in times well below the national average. The Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care has set a goal of 90 minutes for Door to Balloon (D2B), the time from when a patient arrives at the hospital door to the time the patient’s PCI is completed. In 2012, The Medical Center’s median D2B time was 50 minutes.
Air Evac Lifeteam plays an important role in expediting the transportation of patients to The Medical Center Emergency Department as part of The Medical Center’s Regional STEMI Network. The STEMI Network includes both air transport by Air Evac Lifeteam and ground transport via surrounding county EMS Services throughout Southcentral Kentucky. Air Evac Lifeteam is able to provide rapid transport when ground transportation is not the most effective method due to distance. For patients suffering a STEMI, every minute is crucial.
“Saving lives is a true team approach that extends beyond the four walls of the hospital,” said Smith. “Our Emergency Department and Cath Lab staffs provide rapid assessment and treatment when patients come through our doors. What makes us even more successful is when EMS providers in Warren and surrounding counties begin that rapid assessment from the field and put into motion lifesaving care for STEMI patients. They are a vital link in the chain of survival.”