Charles Co. Partners with Local Hospital to Fight Heart Disease - Southern Maryland Headline News

Charles Co. Partners with Local Hospital to Fight Heart Disease

LA PLATA, Md. (November 11, 2010)—Southern Maryland Hospital Center (SMHC) and Charles County Emergency Medical Services are partnering in the fight against cardiac disease. The hospital recently gifted approximately $40,000 to Charles County Government for the purchase of Lifenet STEMI Management System and Support Modems. The system is now installed on all cardiac monitors in use by Charles County paramedics.

Upon identification of a heart attack, the modems allow paramedics to capture and transmit electrocardiograms (ECG) directly to the hospital. A telephone modem attached to the cardiac monitor system transmits to a base station in the hospital’s Emergency Department, allowing physicians to view a high quality image of the ECG in real time, while in contact by radio with paramedics. This system reduces the “door (time of arrival at the hospital) to balloon (time of angioplasty) time.”

Despite great advances in care, heart attacks remain a leading killer. Every year, half a million Americans experience a heart attack called an “ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI).” One-third of patients die within 24 hours if not treated with Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI), commonly known as angioplasty. Angioplasty is the technique of mechanically widening a narrowed or obstructed blood vessel. An empty and collapsed balloon on a guide wire, known as a balloon catheter, is passed into the narrowed locations and then inflated to a fixed size using water pressures some 75 to 500 times normal blood pressure . The balloon crushes the fatty deposits, which opens up the blood vessel to improved flow, and the balloon is then collapsed and withdrawn.

The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and American Heart Association (AHA) recommend a 90-minute door-to-balloon time for best survival. If door-to-balloon time stretches to 120 minutes, mortality has been shown to increase 40 percent. The key to improving outcomes for those patients is identifying STEMI and providing lifesaving PCI treatment as soon as possible. This requires the ability to quickly share ECG data and alert the people who need to know. The goal of this program is to reduce that time, and thanks to the generosity of SMHC, career and volunteer paramedics in Charles County will be able to reduce door-to-balloon time for Charles County citizens suffering from STEMI events. This, in turn, will make a great difference in survivability and quality of life.

Source: Charles County Government

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