KINGMAN - Time is muscle when treating heart attacks. How quickly a heart attack is diagnosed and treatment begins can determine how much heart muscle is permanently damaged by the attack. In some cases, time can be a key factor between life and death.
To enhance the treatment it gives to heart attack patients, River Medical Inc. recently equipped its ambulances with LIFEPAK 15, one of the most advanced cardiac monitors available for use in pre-hospital settings. The monitors allow paramedics to look at the heart from 12 different angles, which increases their ability to determine if a patient is experiencing a heart attack. This advanced technology gives paramedics more information in the field and allows them to treat cardiac emergencies more aggressively.
The cardiac monitors allow River Medical paramedics to send ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction alerts to hospital emergency departments in cases of severe cardiac emergencies. The alert gives the hospital time to prepare for the patient and get the patient into a cardiac catheter lab for treatment faster.
"With this new technology and continued public education about how important it is to call 9-1-1 at the first sign of a heart attack, we are hopeful that we can increase the number of lives saved each year," said Brad Shelton, operations manager for River Medical Inc.
Shelton said it is important to know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack and act quickly when they appear. In general, chest pain, chest discomfort, nausea, shortness of breath, pain radiating to the arms, even the feeling of indigestion can be signs of a heart attack. Symptoms in women and diabetic patients can be more vague and can sometimes be no more than extreme fatigue or jaw pain.
River Medical will use the new LIFEPAK 15 cardiac monitors in all of the communities they provide service to in Mohave County.