Upstate News

January 6, 2010
Doretta Royer 315 464-4833

University Hospital acquires new system to increase positive outcomes from heart attack

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Upstate University Hospital has acquired the LIFENET System, the first web-based system that reduces treatment time for patients who experience a dangerous form of heart attack known as STEMI (ST elevation myocardial infarction). STEMI poses a serious threat to the heart muscle. The quicker patients receive treatment, the more likely they are to have a positive outcome. The system was implemented in December.

Studies show that the time from onset of symptoms to treatment, usually stent placement or angioplasty, is critical to improving survival and outcomes for these patients. “Having this new system will enable Upstate University Hospital to better meet the guideline of treatment in 90 minutes or less, as recommended by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology,” said Hani Kozman, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at and director of the Cardiac Catherization Laboratory at Upstate Medical University.

The LIFENET System goes beyond just transmitting a 12-lead ECG to the hospital. It helps manage care for STEMI patients by alerting care teams and transmitting diagnostic-quality ECGs via a secure web-based STEMI alert system to everyone involved in the patient’s care.

Hospital personnel can prepare for the patient’s arrival while the patient is being transported so door-to-balloon (D2B) time is reduced and heart muscle can be saved. D2B is the amount of time between a heart attack patient’s arrival at the hospital to the time he or she receives percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), such as angioplasty.

The LIFENET system uses the latest digital technology, which is fast and reliable, enabling paramedics and nurses to focus on the patient. Paramedics use the system with LIFEPAK® 12 defibrillator/monitors and gateway modems for transmission. Hospital personnel can use their existing computers and handheld devices by simply loading a software application.

The Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2006) reported that mortality for acute cardiac events has been shown to increase 40 percent if D2B time stretches from 90 minutes to 120 minutes. In a STEMI, the coronary artery is completely blocked off by the blood clot, and as a result virtually all the heart muscle being supplied by the affected artery starts to die.

This more severe type of heart attack is usually recognized by characteristic changes it produces on the ECG. One of those ECG changes is a characteristic elevation in what is called the “ST segment.” The elevated ST segment indicates that a relatively large amount of heart muscle damage is occurring (because the coronary artery is totally occluded), and is what gives this type of heart attack its name.

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