Rapid Response: Cardiac Alert and Heart Attacks

a heart attack occurs about every 20 seconds, with a death about every minute

If you are having a heart attack, every second is important for survival. For each minute that the heart is deprived of blood and oxygen, more muscle tissue dies.

In fact, about 1.5 million heart attacks occur yearly in the United States, and 500,000 of those end in deaths, which is why calling for help and getting treated immediately after noticing heart attack symptoms is so important.

HealthOne and local EMS providers teamed up over a decade ago to create the Cardiac Alert system, which has since been replicated at hospitals around the country, and is recognized as a standard of care by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association.

What is Cardiac Alert? Simply put, it’s fast communication between the Emergency Medical Service providers (paramedics, EMTs,  etc) when they arrive to help someone having a heart attack and the hospital the patient is being taken to.

In this video, Dr. Don Lefkowits, Medical Director of the Rose Medical Center Emergency Department explains how the cardiac alert system works, and how it helps save lives.

With Cardiac Alert, once the hospital receives word from dispatchers that someone is coming into the ER with a heart attack, the team is ready for when the patient arrives. This usually consists of a cardiologist and members from the cardiac cath lab team.

This team of doctors is waiting with an EKG, IV’s and medication, so that they can get to work on saving the patient’s life as soon as they reach the hospital. The goal is always to get the patient up to the cardiac cath lab in 15 minutes or less. Once the patient is in the cath lab, doctors open up the blocked blood vessel to allow blood to start pumping into the heart again.

This process is referred to as Door-to-Balloon time and the time is counted from the moment the patient enters the ER to when the catheter is inserted into the blocked artery to start blood flow.

The American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association guidelines are that door-to-balloon times are 90 minutes or less. At Rose, our times our under 60 minutes.

Fast response times, especially with the Rose Cardiac Alert System, can be the difference between life or death.

Read about how Cardiac Alert saved one patient, who was honored last year at our Great Save Celebration for EMS Appreciation Week.

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