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SCAI highlights study using wireless technology to speed care of heart attack patients

impossible to begin catheter-based treatment within 90 minutes. In fact, the average door-to-intervention timean alternative term used in this study to reflect the full range of catheter techniques available to interventional cardiologistswas nearly 146 minutes in 2005.

Under the guidance of Marc Klapholz, M.D., director of the Division of Cardiology at UMDNJ, the wireless system went live in June 2006. It enables paramedics to use Bluetooth technology to send an ECG not just to the emergency room but also to a receiving station in the cath lab. From there the electrocardiogram is automatically converted to a PDF file and forwarded via the hospital intranet to several e-mail addresses set up just for that purpose. The on-call cardiologist receives a text message with instructions to download the electrocardiogram for viewing on a smart phone. The file also includes the phone number of the paramedic who initiated transmission of the electrocardiogram, so the cardiologist can immediately be in contact with the ambulance crew. Patients who are clearly having a heart attack are whisked directly to the cath lab.

Using the wireless system, cardiologists are now notified an average of 15 minutes before the patient even arrives at the hospital. From June to December 2006, the average door-to-intervention time fell to 80 minutes. Today, it is lower still, averaging just 73 minutes.

Establishing the wireless system took 68 months of planning and involved staff from cardiology, the emergency department, and emergency medical services. Representatives from administration, admitting, information technology, and telecommunications played a key role as well, Dr. Klapholz said.

"We had a commitment from multiple stakeholders within the institution to make this a priority," he said. "Everyone was on-board and that's why we were successful."


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Contact: Kathy Boyd David
kbdavid@scai.org
717-422-1181
Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions
17-May-2007


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