Quick Action in Tenn. County Saves Heart Attack Patients

Quick Action in Tenn. County Saves Heart Attack Patients

News Nov 09, 2017

If you have a heart attack, your chances of survival may be better if you live or work in the Shelbyville, Tennessee area.

Thanks to technology, early recognition, and teamwork the area boasts some of the best “door to balloon times” in the Bedford County area. Health care providers in Bedford County are leading the way in the recognition and rapid treatment of heart attacks and will be honored by the Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute at a special celebration on November 9.

One measurement of that success can be seen in patient outcomes. Timothy Estes is one of those patients. He suffered a massive heart attack and thanks to the quick efforts of Bedford County EMS, Tennova-Shelbyville Hospital Emergency Department and Vanderbilt LifeFlight, he is alive and well today. Mr. Estes will be speaking at the Shelbyville celebration to share his story of survival and to thank those that cared for him.

Another measurement is the door-to-balloon time—(time of arrival at referring facility to time of intervention at receiving facility).  Tennova-Shelbyville beats national and regional door-to-balloon time, which results in better patient outcomes.

“The national average outside door to balloon time is 105 minutes according to the American College of Cardiology ACTION registry,” said Holly Wright, Chest Pain Coordinator at Vanderbilt Medical Center.  “The outside door to balloon time in the last six months from Shelbyville is under 100 minutes. In two cases in the last three months, we achieved an outside door to balloon time of 79 and 89 minutes respectively. These cases show teamwork, confidence, and trusting relationships through early recognition, early activation, and early dispatch by Bedford County EMS, Tennova-Shelbyville Emergency Department, and Lifeflight.”

Early recognition is an important component in achieving the great door-to-balloon times in Bedford County. Bedford County EMS has a STEMI protocol (STEMI is ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI), which allows them to activate a “STEMI alert” prior to arriving to the hospital. A STEMI is a very serious type of heart attack in which one of the heart's major arteries (one of the arteries that supplies oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to the heart muscle) is blocked. ST-segment elevation is an abnormality that can be detected on a 12-lead ECG and is usually done by paramedics within 10 minutes of arrival to the patient.

Once a STEMI is diagnosed by Bedford EMS, the ECG is transmitted to Tennova-Shelbyville ED, receiving early notification. Once Shelbyville receives the ECG, it is then taken directly to an ED physician who will confirm the presence of STEMI and then begin the process of getting the patient transferred to Vanderbilt. A Lifeflight helicopter is then dispatched from the Tullahoma or Murfreesboro base. Precious minutes are saved due to the ER receiving the “STEMI alert” early and ensuring the patient is in and out of the ER doors headed to Vanderbilt within minutes.

“During this process, Bedford County EMS, Tennova-Shelbyville Emergency Department, and Lifeflight all work together to provide excellent care to the patient, getting the patient prepared to be received by Vanderbilt so the appropriate intervention can be done,” said Jeri Clements, director of the Emergency Department at Tennova-Shelbyville.

“It’s very important that the public knows to call 911 when someone is having symptoms of a heart attack. Get EMS involved as soon as possible,” explained Brett Young, assistant director of Bedford County EMS. “Early recognition and treatment is a vital component for a great outcome with heart attack patients.”

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