Patty Peele (left) and Michael Layman (right) present new electrocardiogram equipment to Homewood Fire Chief Robert Grabowski, University Park Fire Lt. Shawn Richards, and Country Club Hills Fire Chief Roger A. Agpawa. | Supplied photo
Updated: April 10, 2014 6:02AM
Franciscan Alliance Foundation St. James Health recently donated state-of-the-art, 12-lead electrocardiogram equipment to the fire departments in Country Club Hills, Homewood and University Park for installation in their ambulances, according to a press release from Franciscan Alliance.
The equipment will allow first responders in those communities to perform 12-lead ECGs at the scene of emergencies for those who may be having a heart attack, including STEMI, a severe form of heart attack, the release said.
The 12-lead system shows abnormal ECG tracings that indicate blockage of a cardiac artery and transmits the information in real time to Franciscan St. James Health, the release said. This allows the hospital’s emergency department and cardiac catheterization lab to prepare for the patient’s arrival while the patient is being transported. The quicker that patients experiencing STEMI receive treatment, the more likely they are to have a positive outcome, the release said.
The American Heart Association estimates that nearly 400,000 people in the United States experience STEMI every year, according to the release. Studies have reported a significant relationship between the pre-hospital 12-lead ECGs and shorter “door to balloon” times, with recent studies showing the effect was strongest when the cath lab was activated while the patient was still en route to the hospital, according to Franciscan Alliance.
“Our goal is to reduce the time it takes to get patients to treatment,” Franciscan St. James chief medical officer Daniel Netluch said in the release. “The 20 to 30 minutes we can save by getting this information while the patient is in transit will help us to save heart muscle, and, ultimately more lives, as well as improving quality of life for these patients.”
Forging partnerships with these communities, as well as Chicago Heights, Frankfort, Matteson and Monee, has helped Franciscan St. James to be the first and only south suburban hospital to earn Chest Pain Center accreditation from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care, according to the release.
“Our Chest Pain Center accreditation means that Franciscan St. James meets or exceeds the highest standards for assessing, diagnosing and treating patients who may be having a heart attack — at both our Chicago Heights and Olympia Fields campuses,” Franciscan St. James president Arnie Kimmel said.