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Grant Will Help Save Lives in Appalachian Ohio

CHILLICOTHE, Ohio, Oct. 6, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The idea of dying from a heart attack is more than a fear among people living in one part of Appalachian Ohio. It's a reality.

The mortality and morbidity rates for heart disease among those in Pike, Ross and Vinton counties is among the highest in Ohio, according to federal and state data.

But with the help of a $250,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission that will soon change. The federal grant will be used to outfit EMS squads, as well as the Adena Medical Center and Pike Community Hospital, with sophisticated EKG technology.

"This funding will go a long way in helping to save the lives of people in southern Ohio," said Jerry Tapp, Cardiology Program Director at the Adena Medical Center in Ross County.

"With this equipment, we're going to have the ability to outfit squads to identify heart attacks more quickly, which will allow us to activate appropriate medical teams before the patient arrives at the hospital," Tapp said.

Using the new 12-Lead EKG equipment, EMS squads can transmit an EKG from almost any location, sending it immediately to the nearest hospital. An Emergency Department physician would then interpret the EKG to determine if the patient is experiencing a heart attack and if the patient needs to be transported to the nearest hospital or a facility with more sophisticated capabilities.

Up until only two or three years ago, only paramedics were permitted to use sophisticated EKG units. Since then, laws have changed allowing EMTs to use the equipment.

Along with helping to save lives, the grant will help to promote economic development by offering a level of medical care and treatment that up to now has only been experienced by those living in metropolitan areas, federal officials said.

The EKG technology purchased with this grant also will help in expanding the STEMI program at Adena, said Bob Newland, who recently retired as Adena's EMS Liaison and was involved in trying to secure EKG funding since 2008.

"This is a real big step. This will bring a standard of care that we've never seen before in this region. This is great," he said.

A growing number of people in Appalachian Ohio are stricken by severe heart attacks, known as STEMIs. A STEMI is caused by a prolonged period of blocked blood supply that affects a large area of the heart, and oftentimes leads to death or disability.

Adena has been recognized for its STEMI program, which quickly identifies and treats patients, using emergency department staff, catheterization teams and interventional cardiologists.

Twelve EMS squads in Ross and Vinton counties will receive 12-Lead EKG telemetry transmission equipment, while the two hospitals receive 12-Lead EKG telemetry receiving equipment.

An additional eight squads in Ross County will receive 12-Lead EKG telemetry transmission equipment by means of an additional program and separate grant funding request, according to federal officials.

Adena officials are striving to obtain additional grants to outfit other emergency squads in the region with EKG equipment.

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About Adena Health System
Adena Health System is an independent, not-for-profit and locally controlled healthcare organization serving the needs of 13 counties in south-central Ohio and employing more than 2,400 people. Adena provides specialty services typically found in larger medical centers, like open heart surgery, cardiac catheterization, cancer care and advanced orthopedic procedures, including reverse shoulder surgery, total joint replacement and minimally invasive spine surgery. The health system is based in Chillicothe, OH.

SOURCE Adena Health System
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