Lincoln Fire and Rescue (LFR) has received the American Heart Association's (AHA) 2017 Mission: Lifeline® EMS Gold Plus Award for implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks.
"LFR received a silver award in 2015 and a gold award in 2016, so another year of receiving the top award is evidence that the dedication of our firefighters, dispatchers, hospital providers and community-minded citizens is making a measurable difference in our community," said Lincoln Fire Chief Micheal Despain.
Despain reports that every year, more than 250,000 people in the U.S. experience the most deadly type of heart attack — an ST elevation myocardial infarction or STEMI — which is caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart. To prevent death, it's critical to restore blood flow quickly.
When responding to heart attacks, LFR uses electrocardiogram (EKG) machines with 12 connections to the patient to determine if blood flow to the heart is blocked. The EKG information is sent by cellular modem to the emergency room where doctors 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.
LFR also follows protocols derived from AHA/American College of Cardiology guidelines. These tools, training, and practices allow emergency medical providers to rapidly identify suspected heart attack patients, promptly notify the hospital and trigger an early response from hospital staff. Agencies that receive the Mission: Lifeline® Gold Award have demonstrated at least 75 percent compliance for each required achievement measure for two years.
"This award demonstrates the outstanding collaboration that occurs between Lincoln Fire and Rescue and our community hospital systems and provides an example of the elite care delivered by our firefighters and paramedics," said Dr. Jason Kruger, Medical Director for the Lancaster County Emergency Medical Services Oversight Authority.