EMS and Hospital Coordination Lead to Improved Heart Attack Survival
Prompt, coordinated emergency care greatly increases the survival rate of people having heart attacks, and few places anywhere provide faster care than Cone Health Heart and Vascular Center.
A recent study in the journal Circulation noted that the mortality rate of people having heart attacks dropped to 2.2 percent if people were treated within 90 minutes of onset of the heart attack. The death rate jumped to 5.7 percent if it took more than 90 minutes for treatment to begin. In April, the average time to treatment at Cone Health was 38 minutes—the best response time in North Carolina.
“This is extremely gratifying. First medical contact to treatment time is the most important predictor of heart attack survival,” says Dr. Charles Wilson, Medical Director, Cone Health Heart and Vascular Center.
The Circulation study looks at the voluntary effort of hospitals in North Carolina to decrease the times needed to treat heart attack patients. Cone Health was one of the first hospitals to join the program in 2005. Duke University researchers, who presented the research to Circulation, have called on the lessons learned in North Carolina to be applied to heart attack care across the county.
Speeding treatment times often requires first responders diagnosing a heart attack and taking patients directly to hospitals—such as Cone Health Heart and Vascular Center—which specialize in heart attack care.
“From area EMS crews who first begin treatment to rural hospitals to our cardiac teams at the Heart and Vascular Center, everyone has pushed back the barriers to provide faster, better care to patients,” says Rich Lundy, Vice President, Cone Health Heart and Vascular Center.
The American Heart Association says about 300,000 people a year have heart attacks caused by blocked arteries. National guidelines call for those arteries to be opened medically or surgically within 90 minutes of a patient's first contact with the emergency medical system. First contact is defined as the arrival or paramedics or a person coming into an emergency room without EMS bringing them.