Paramedics Will Digitally Transmit EKG from the Field to the Hospital
Announcement Comes During National EMS Week
White Plains, NY (May 17, 2010) – Individuals in Westchester communities served by White Plains Hospital Center who suffer a serious heart attack will be able to undergo life-saving treatment more quickly as a result of new technology the Hospital has adopted. Paramedics in the field will now be able to send a digital transmission of the patient’s electrocardiogram (EKG) to the Hospital’s Emergency Department and Cardiac Catheterization Lab.
If the EKG indicates the patient has suffered the most serious type of heart attack known as a STEMI, in which a coronary artery is completely blocked, the Hospital’s emergency and interventional cardiac specialists will be prepared to perform a life-saving angioplasty procedure immediately upon the patient’s arrival.
In adopting the LIFENET System, White Plains Hospital Center has become the first community hospital in Westchester to use this advanced technology that reduces the time from when the patient arrives at the hospital to undergoing a life-saving angioplasty procedure, known as “door to balloon (D2B)” time. LIFENET connects the paramedics with the Hospital’s medical team, allowing physicians to access the EKG images either on their office computers, laptops or hand-held devices.
“Studies have shown that the faster the treatment is done, the better the outcome will be for the patient,” said Mark A. Apfelbaum, M.D. Medical Director of White Plains Hospital Center’s Cardiac Cath Lab. “Time is the enemy in removing the blockages and restoring blood blow to the heart muscles of STEMI patients. Having this new system will enable White Plains Hospital Center to treat heart attack patients in 90 minutes or less, as recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology.”
The Hospital made the announcement as it began observing National EMS Week. Hospital officials were joined by government leaders and representatives from EMS organizations from the communities served by the Hospitals to mark the occasion including White Plains, Scarsdale, Rye and Mamaroneck.
Jon B. Schandler, White Plains Hospital Center President and CEO, said: “As we recognize the vitally important role that paramedics play, it is fitting that we are announcing today that they now have one of the most sophisticated tools that will help them to carry out our shared mission of saving lives.” He added: “In a situation in which every minute can make the difference between life and death, LIFENET closes a crucial gap between the paramedics and our cardiac specialists.”
LIFENET represents another first in cardiac care for White Plains Hospital Center. In February, the Hospital’s Cardiac Cath Lab was approved by the New York State Department of Health to provide emergency and elective angioplasty, a minimally invasive procedure that opens blocked arteries. As a result, White Plains Hospital Center became the only community hospital in Westchester to provide this advanced level of cardiac care. Previously, heart attack patients requiring angioplasty were transferred to hospitals in New York City and elsewhere.
Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey was instrumental in advocating that the Hospital receive state approval to provide this lifesaving service. She stated: “White Plains Hospital Center should be congratulated for providing paramedics in the field with this advanced technology, as well as offering full cardiac care services to patients upon arrival at the hospital,” Congresswoman Lowey said. “As we celebrate National EMS Week, I want to recognize the exceptional EMS professionals, as well as the top-flight cardiac care team of physicians and nurses at White Plains Hospital Center who day in and day out provide life-saving treatment to those who live and work in Westchester.”
In becoming licensed to provide elective and emergency angioplasty, the Hospital also became a designated STEMI Center by the Westchester County EMS Council. Under the Westchester County STEMI protocol, EMS is advised to bring patients with EKG changes and symptoms consistent with an ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) to the nearest hospital with appropriate interventional cardiac services. Similar protocols are in place in New York City and other areas of the country.
The AHA estimates that nearly 400,000 people in the U.S. experience STEMI heart attacks and that deaths have been shown to increase 40 percent if D2B time stretches from 90 minutes to 120 minutes. It is critical that STEMI patients are taken to facilities with the ability to perform angioplasty and insert stents. White Plains Hospital Center is among fewer than 25 percent of hospitals in the nation that can provide this treatment.
Physio-Control, a division of Medtronic, pioneered defibrillation technology over 50 years ago. With more than 650,000 LIFEPAK defibrillator/monitors distributed worldwide, the company is the world’s leading provider of external defibrillator/monitors for the treatment of sudden cardiac and other cardio-respiratory emergencies.