Responding To Heart Attack Victims - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/14/06-Tyler

Responding To Heart Attack Victims

It's a race for survival. More than a million people in this country have a heart attack every year. About half of them die most of those patients do not get to a hospital quickly enough. A new study shows hospitals need to speed up emergency treatment. As KLTV 7 found out, many East Texas hospitals are already responding when minutes count.

"I had chest tightening and had been having it for a while.  Like most people, I was playing like it wasn't anything bad," says Dr. Ronald Stanley, suffered from heart attack.

65 year old Dr. Stanley of Mineola was having a heart attack. During the ambulance ride to Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler, an EKG was taken and sent back to the ER via cell phone. It's all part of a program called Code STEMI.

"The idea is to get all the people involved from the emergency room to the cardiac catheterization lab to physician who are going to take care of the patients as quickly as possible so there are minimal delays for when that patient enters the front door of the hospital.  By doing that we think we are going to decrease patient mortality in the region from heart attacks," says Dr. Roderick Meese, Medical Director of Cardiac Services at TMFHS.

Heart attack patients should be treated within 90 minutes of arriving at a hospital or the risk of dying increases dramatically.  Making it even more crucial for doctors to determine where the blockage is.

"If that blockage is obstructed and closing the vessels then opening that up with a wire or balloon happen very rapidly," says Dr. Meese.

Dr. Meese says when it comes to cardiology, time is muscle.  Stanley says without quick treatment he may not be here today.

"They essentially saved my life," says Dr. Stanley.

We did check with our other East Texas hospitals. Both ETMC and Good Shepherd Medical Center say they also have similar programs in place when responding to heart attack victims.

Karolyn Davis, reporting.  kdavis@kltv.com

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