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Providence Hospital Study Finds Communication System Leads to Faster Heart Attack Treatment

ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The time it takes to treat heart attack patients can be reduced dramatically with a communication system that makes it possible for paramedics to send real-time medical information from the field to hospital emergency departments, according to a study from the Providence Hospital Heart Institute in Southfield, Mich. The study was presented today at the American Heart Association's 2007 Annual Scientific Sessions in Orlando.

The system, known as LIFENET, enables EMS units to transmit critical medical information to doctors while they are on the scene or transporting a patient to the hospital. Paramedics place a 12-lead electrocardiogram on the patient and the data from that ECG is transmitted to the emergency department via cell phone connection. Doctors can immediately determine if a patient is having a heart attack and prepare a cardiac catheterization lab where they can be treated with lifesaving balloon angioplasty to open any blocked arteries.

The Providence study, conducted from Oct. 2003 to May 2007, involved 142 consecutive patients that were in the midst of a heart attack. The conventional treatment group of 125 patients had an average door-to-balloon time of 123 minutes, while the 17 patients who had their ECG's transmitted from the field to the Emergency Department reached the catheterization lab for angioplasty in an average of 46 minutes. All of those patients had successful interventions and were released without complications.

"The use of this technology makes it possible for us to save more lives," says Shukri David, M.D., chief of cardiology at the Providence Hospital Heart Institute and the lead author of the study. "Patients are taken directly to the catheterization lab without the delays necessitated by emergency room admission and evaluation. The quicker we can re-open blocked arteries and re-establish blood flow to the heart, the better."

This study is a follow-up to a smaller study of the communication system that was conducted at Providence in 2005. That study, published on the on-line edition of Catheterization and Cardiovascular Diagnosis: Journal of the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, also found that the system significantly reduced door-to-balloon treatment times.

LIFENET is a product of Medtronics, a medical device company headquartered in Minneapolis.

The Providence Hospital Heart Institute is part of St. John Health Heart Care Network, the leading provider of heart care in Michigan. Providence is the only hospital in southeast Michigan to be recognized as a 100 Top Cardiovascular Hospital for six consecutive years by Solucient, a national healthcare information company. Providence, along with the other members of the St. John Health Heart Care Network, St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit, and St. John Macomb-Oakland Hospital in Warren, Mich., are also Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan Cardiac Centers of Excellence.

SOURCE St. John Health
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