Westlake Fire Department receives award for cardiac care

Westlake Fire Department firefighter-paramedics (left to right) Steve Reuter, Adam O’Neill, and Rob Thompson explain how using a monitor/defibrillator is one of the steps in determining whether their patient is possibly suffering from a ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), the deadliest type of heart attack. Photo courtesy City of Westlake

The Westlake Fire Department has received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline EMS Gold Award for implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks. The department first received the award in 2016.

Every year, more than 250,000 people experience an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), the deadliest type of heart attack caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment. To prevent death, it’s critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by mechanically opening the blocked vessel or by providing clot-busting medication. Unfortunately, a significant number of STEMI patients don't receive this prompt reperfusion therapy, which is critical in restoring blood flow.

Mission: Lifeline seeks to save lives by closing the gaps that separate these patients from timely access to appropriate treatments. EMS agencies perform 12-lead EKGs which measure the electrical activity of the heart and can help determine if a heart attack has occurred. They also follow protocols derived from American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology guidelines. These correct tools, training and practices allow EMS providers to rapidly identify suspected heart attack patients, promptly notify the medical center, and trigger an early response from the awaiting hospital personnel.

Agencies that receive the Mission: Lifeline Gold Award have demonstrated at least 75 percent compliance for each required achievement measure for two years.

“EMTs and paramedics play a vital part in the system of care for those who have heart attacks,” said James Jollis, M.D., chair of the Mission: Lifeline Advisory Working Group. “Since they often are the first medical point of contact, they can shave precious minutes of life-saving treatment time by activating the emergency response system that alerts hospitals. We applaud the Westlake Fire Department for achieving this award that shows it meets evidence-based guidelines in the treatment of people who have severe heart attacks.”

“The City of Westlake is committed to making continual improvements in the delivery of service to our residents and visitors,” said Mayor Dennis M. Clough. “We are proud of the leadership and members of the Fire Department for following the latest research-based standards for severe heart attacks which helps save lives. We also join in congratulating them as they are recognized nationally by the Mission: Lifeline program for their dedication and achievements in emergency medical care for all cardiac patients.”

The American Heart Association will formally present the award at the Westlake City Council meeting on Thursday, July 20, at 8 p.m.

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Volume 9, Issue 14, Posted 9:57 AM, 07.18.2017