Logan County’s Emergency Medical Service (EMS) was recognized Monday afternoon by The Medical Center in Bowling Green for playing an important role in the chain of survival for heart attack patients. In celebration of February being Heart Month, The Medical Center held a presentation at the Logan EMS headquarters on Armstrong Street to honor Logan County for the service they provide.
“EMS providers throughout south central Kentucky are valued members of the patient care team for the treatment of STEMI, a deadly form of heart attack,” said Connie Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer of Commonwealth Health Corporation, parent company of The Medical Center. “Logan County EMS’s participation in The Medical Center’s Regional STEMI Network is vital in providing timely treatment for STEMI patients, reducing damage to the patient’s heart and saving lives.”
STEMI, or ST elevation myocardial infraction, is caused by a blocked coronary artery that results in a sudden loss of blood flow to the heart. This loss of blood flow leads to destruction of heart tissue if flow is not restored quickly. The optimal treatment for STEMI is getting the blocked artery open and blood flowing again to the heart muscle by performing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), more commonly known as balloon angioplasty, which is done in the Cardiac Cath Lab. But to be most effective, patients need to get to the Cath Lab as soon as possible from the time of onset of symptoms.
STEMI patients arriving at The Medical Center receive PCI in times well below the national average, said Smith. The Society of Cardiovascular patient Care has set a goal of 90 minutes for Door to Balloon (D2B), the time from when a patient arrives at the hospital door to the time the patient’s PCI is completed. In 2012, The Medical Center’s median D2B time was 50 minutes, added Smith.
One process that helps The Medical Center reduce its D2B time is the transmission of 12 lead EKGs from the field. Logan County EMS is one of seven EMS providers in south central Kentucky which transmit 12 lead EKGs to The Medical Center Emergency Department as part of The Medical Center’s Regional STEMI Network. By transmitting the EKG, the ED physician is able to confirm that a STEMI patient is in route and activate the Cath Lab team to prepare for the patient’s arrival. It is the recognition and communication by highly trained EMS teams at the patient’s location to The Medical Center ED that allows the hospital to prepare for the patient more quickly.
“Saving lives is a true team approach that extends beyond the four walls of the hospital,” said Smith. “Our Emergency Department and Cath Lab staffs provide rapid assessment and treatment when patients come through our doors. What makes us even more successful is when EMS providers in Warren and surrounding counties begin that rapid assessment from the field and put into motion lifesaving care for STEMI patients. They are a vital link in the chain of survival.”
Shane Johnson, director of operations for the Logan County Emergency Medical Service (EMS) said he is very happy to have the services The Medical Center provides to help the patient and is honored to be acknowledged for the work the Logan County EMS does. He also mentioned Logan Memorial Hospital and the technology they provide as well.
“It’s a huge asset to the region to have this technology available for the people so we can get these transmissions to the doctors who will work on them. The physicians are able to see these stats up to 30 minutes before the patient is delivered to the hospital,” said Johnson.
Johnson said he cannot say enough about those who ride in the ambulances and provide the services to the community.
“We have some of the best men and women working in EMS here in Logan County. This is just another tool they use to help them do what they need to do to help the patients even more. These guys are the ones who are out there working in the field and are able to get this information to the doctors in a timely manner at all hours of the night. They are truly dedicated to the service they provide to the community. I have often said, that there is so much that these guys do that is not realized. When people are at home in their beds, these guys are up at all hours of the night trying to save a life,” said Johnson.
Johnson also mentioned the first responders and fire departments for what they do.
“These men and women of the first responder program and the fire departments in Logan County are ready to drop everything to go where they are needed. A lot of what we do starts with the first responders and firefighters. It is truly a team effort,” said Johnson.