Lincoln Fire and Rescue (LFR) has received the American Heart Association's (AHA) Mission: Lifeline® EMS Gold Award for its treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks. LFR received a Silver Award in 2015 and was the only Nebraska agency to receive the Gold Award this year.
When responding to heart attacks, LFR uses EKG machines with 12 leads (connections to the patient) to determine if the patient is experiencing the blockage of blood flow to the heart. To keep a patient alive, blood flow must be restored as quickly as possible Every year, more than 250,000 people experience this type of heart attack called a STEMI, or ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction.
Using the 12-lead EKG speeds treatment because EKG information is sent by cellular modem to the emergency room. Doctors can review the results and share them with a cardiologist by cell phone. When patients arrive at the hospital, they often do not need to stop in the emergency room, but can go directly to the catheterization lab for a balloon angioplasty to open the blocked artery.
"As an EMS agency that delivers education in STEMI identification, provides access to 12-lead EKG machines and develops protocols derived from ACC (Advanced Cardiac Care)/AHA STEMI Guidelines, your medics are driving improvements in their care and outcomes of STEMI patients," said Julie Smith, Mission: Lifeline® Director.
LFR has been obtaining 12-lead EKGs for use in the field since 2005. Since 2010, the front line medic units have had the capability to transmit the 12-lead EKGs to the emergency room using the Physio LifePak 15, which includes a monitor and defibrillator. The cellular modems transmit the EKGs through the LifeNet system directly to the hospital. In 2015, LFR transmitted 1,967 12-lead EKGS to local hospitals. More information on LFR is available at fire.lincoln.ne.gov.
The AHA's Mission: Lifeline® program helps hospitals and emergency medical services develop systems of care that follow proven standards and procedures for STEMI patients. For more information, visit heart.org/missionlifeline and heart.org/quality.