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American Heart Association EMS Survey Uncovers Deficiencies in Response, Treatment and Transfer of Patients With Most Deadly Heart Attacks
Date:2/16/2009

Association's Mission: Lifeline initiative to use survey data to make improvements

DALLAS, Feb. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Preliminary results of one of the nation's largest national surveys of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) systems indicate the need for improvements in the way heart attack, specifically ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), is managed.

STEMI is the most serious and deadly type of heart attack, characterized by a complete blockage of a coronary artery. It requires rapid response and treatment to reopen the artery and restore blood flow to the heart muscle. The preferred treatment is primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), which involves mechanically opening the artery using a small balloon to clear the blockage followed by the insertion of a stent, a type of scaffolding used to prop open the artery.

The American Heart Association conducted the survey as part of its Mission: Lifeline initiative to improve the response and treatment of STEMI patients and ultimately all heart attack patients. The association gave the survey October - December 2008 to more than 5,400 EMS system or agency directors and asked questions about staffing, funding, training, and existing processes for handling patients who have experienced a STEMI.

The most significant findings:

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