STEMI Alerts Come to Ft. Myers Beach

Officials from the Ft. Myers Beach (Fla.) Fire Control District and HealthPark Medical Center's Emergency Department have announced the implementation of real-time electrocardiogram transmissions from the field to the emergency room. This process will enable patients suffering from myocardial infarctions to receive definitive cardiac care with greater efficiency.

This program will be the first of its kind in southwest Florida. It was funded through a grant from the Gulf Harbour Memorial Foundation.

Ft. Myers Beach paramedics, as well as all public-safety agencies in southwest Florida, utilize cardiac monitors in the field to determine if patients are having myocardial infarctions. New regional and national protocols implemented in the last few years recognize a certain criteria in myocardial infarctions known as ST segment elevation. ST-elevation myocardial infarctions (STEMIs) are among the most treatable of MIs, if addressed quickly; patients need early recognition, proper treatment and stabilization, and transport to an appropriate cardiac facility that can perform timely cardiac catheterization. Until now, the missing link has been early confirmation by the emergency room physician and early activation of the cardiac catheterization team to act quickly upon the patient's arrival.

Through Bluetooth technology and wireless data-transfer protocols, all of the above steps may now merge into one continuous link of care from the paramedics to the physicians and the cardiologists. This process may save up to 20 minutes or more of dying muscle, which can make a difference in a patient's survival.

Hopefully, this pilot program will assist other southwest Florida public-safety agencies in receiving grant money so that all residents and visitors to the area may receive the benefits of early recognition, early confirmation and quick definitive care of myocardial infarctions.

The program was initiated on July 13, and within six days the first transmission helped a patient suffering from a myocardial infarction. The patient was in the cardiac catheterization lab at HealthPark within 34 minutes of the arrival of Ft. Myers Beach paramedics.

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