Department, health care provider set heart attack treatment standard

Photo courtesy of Oakwood Healthcare System

Presenters at the Rapid Recognition & Treatment of Heart Attack Patients seminar in Dearborn were Dr. Samir Dabbous (left), medical director, Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, Oakwood Hospital & Medical Center, and medical director, Heart & Vascular Services, Oakwood Healthcare System; Dr. Arthur Riba, medical director, Cardiac Care Units and chairman, cardiovascular physician practice; Jeff Beutner, Dearborn Fire Department battalion chief; Sarah Poole, government relations director, American Heart Association, Mission:Lifeline; and Dr. Daniel Sheesley, medical director, emergency medical services, OHMC.

DEARBORN — When treating a heart attack patient, all doctors have a common expression: “Time is muscle.”

The faster a cardiac patient can receive treatment, the better his or her odds of making a full recovery — without long-term damage to the most important muscle in the human body.

That’s good news for residents, where the Fire Department and the Oakwood Healthcare System are using the latest technology to treat cardiac patients in as little as 40 minutes — less than half the national standard time.

Using Bluetooth technology, paramedic crews can transmit data directly to the cell phones of hospital physicians, who can analyze it wherever they are and respond accordingly. The information can be transmitted in as little as 0.3 seconds, said Jeff Beutner, Fire battalion chief, Emergency Medical Services.

“The hospital is looking at the same thing our paramedics are looking at,” he said. “In essence, we’ve not only brought the emergency room to the patient, we’ve also brought cardiology into the fold, too.”

Whether EMS is evaluating patients in their living room or in the ambulance, Beutner said, it’s like “we’ve got the emergency room physician and the cardiologist standing right behind us. It’s really having a huge impact on patient care.”

Officials said the concept is having such a positive impact that the Fire Department and the Oakwood Center for Heart and Vascular Services wanted to spread the word to medical personnel in other communities.

The two organizations recently teamed up to present a two-day conference at the Hyatt Regency in Dearborn as part of their ongoing partnership to provide superior patient care.

More than 450 nurses, paramedics and other healthcare professionals from southeast Michigan and Canada attended the Rapid Recognition & Treatment of Heart Attack Patients seminar. The new procedure was a main focus of the seminar, which also featured presentations and case studies from Oakwood physicians.

The goal is to reduce the time between initial contact with paramedics to the operating room for patients who need an emergency angioplasty cardiac procedure, which is referred to as door-to-balloon time.

Sending timely information to the physicians allows the hospital to activate the Cardiac Catherization Lab earlier as patients are arriving, which results in Oakwood having one of the fastest procedure times in southeast Michigan.

“It allows the information that we’re gathering in the field to hit the hospital in real time,” Beutner said. “Before I’ve even make radio contact, or phone contact with the hospital, I’ve sent the message off to the people that need to know. It’s really, really significant.”

As the technology continues to evolve, it will result in enhanced care to patients before arriving at the hospital, he said.

“In the end, the patient benefits from the teamwork between EMS and Oakwood Hospital, and it is this teamwork that is saving lives across southeast Michigan,” Beutner said.