Posted on June 6, 2012 at 3:33 PM
Wednesday, Jun 6 at 4:21 PM
SAN ANTONIO -- San Antonio’s medical community has had great success speeding up crucial care to heart attack patients. Now the same techniques helping save lives in the metro area are being expanded throughout South Texas.
When people are having a heart attack, time is muscle. The more quickly they can get to a hospital to have a clogged artery opened, the less likely they are to suffer or die.
“The sooner we can open an artery, the more likely we are to restore normal blood flow, the more likely that an individual is to not only survive, but not be limited by heart failure or irregular heartbeats,” explained Dr. Steve Bailey, a U.T. Health Science Center cardiologist.
Great progress has been made in San Antonio. In 2008, the so-called “door to balloon” time to get patients to the cath lab was 88 minutes. In 2011, that time was down to 63 minutes.
The goal is from the time patients call 911 until they are treated should be less than 90 minutes.
Ninty-three percent of San Antonio patients get their critical cardiac care within that time frame. Nationally, the figure is only 27 percent.
“What we want to do is take the great things that we’ve done here in the San Antonio and Bexar County region and expand that out into the more rural and frontier areas of South Texas,” said Dr. Craig Manifold, San Antonio Fire Department Medical Director.
San Antonio is one of 20 cities chosen to embark on a regional plan with the help of the American Heart Association and Duke University Medical Center.
The area will include 22 South Texas counties with a population of 2.4 million people.
A combination of ground transport and helicopter transport will get cardiac patients to the life-saving procedures they need faster than ever before.
Technology is helping, like EKGs sent on the way.
“In the past, we had to have someone describe an EKG or they had to fax it to us and we had to go to the fax,” Bailey commented. “Today we can get EKGs on our smartphones.”
“We want to make sure that you’re recognizing those symptoms and that we’re able to get you access to care and the most appropriate care depending on where you are and what’s happening for your individual situation,” Manifold stated.
Regional coordination of care could save lives.