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Study Confirms That New Protocol Shortens the Time It Takes to Open Blocked Arteries for Heart Attack Patients
Date:11/9/2007

MINNEAPOLIS, Nov. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This week, Dr. Fouad Bachour, MD, FACC, director of interventional cardiology at Hennepin County Medical Center, presented results of a study at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions (http://www.sessionsdailynews.com/tuesday.pdf) meeting in Orlando showing that alerting the hospital as soon as possible before a heart attack patient arrives improves door-to-balloon times -- both during workday hours and after hours. Door-to-balloon time is measured from the time the patient arrives in the emergency department to when the patient's artery is opened and blood flow to the heart is restored in the cardiac catheterization lab.

National studies have shown that during normal workday hours, when cardiac catheterization (cath) labs are fully staffed, the time it takes to open a patient's blocked artery is shorter than after hours when staff has to be called in. Hennepin County Medical Center has reduced the time it takes to get a patient with an acute heart attack to the cath lab for emergency angioplasty by authorizing paramedics to call ahead and alert the cath lab staff directly instead of receiving prior authorization. There's no dispute within the medical community that the quicker the patient receives treatment, the better chance for survival.

"Without blood, cardiac muscle quickly begins to die," explains Dr. Bachour. "The largest gain in time to an open artery can be achieved by concentrating our efforts on management of the pre-hospital phase of patients coming in with a heart attack. Hennepin has been very successful at restoring blood flow to heart tissue and saving lives." Every year an estimated 500,000 Americans experience heart attacks which occur when an artery is completely blocked and blood flow to cardiac muscle is restricted.

According to Dr. Bachour, empowering paramedics to activate the cath la
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SOURCE Hennepin County Medical Center
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