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Home > News Room > Medtronic LIFENET

ER1 to read real-time ECGs from inbound ambulance patients

Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and Sen. George D. Maziarz announced today that Memorial will become the first hospital in Western New York to install and use the lifesaving Medtronic LIFENET® RS Receiving Station.

The LIFENET® RS will be installed in ER1, Memorial's expanding emergency services department. It is expected to go online in mid- to late November.

The LIFENET® RS Receiving Station and supporting equipment are being purchased with a $20,000 state grant obtained by Sen. Maziarz at the urging of emergency medical services personnel from Tri-Community Ambulance Service and Upper Mountain Volunteer Fire Co. Both services utilize the LIFEPAK12® EMS electronic patient care reporting system, which allows EMS personnel to transmit patient data, including clinical quality 12-lead electrocardiograms, from ambulances en route to the hospital.

"I'm so glad that first responders from Tri-Community Ambulance and Upper Mountain Volunteer Fire Company came to me and said we've got an idea for how we can help save more lives in Niagara County, " Maziarz said. "This cutting-edge technology will undoubtedly be put to good use in the hands of those skilled at emergency patient care."

John Malinchock, deputy chief for emergency medical services at Upper Mountain Volunteer Fire Co. and coordinator of EMS training at Niagara University, said Memorial's LIFENET purchase means his department as well as Tri-Community Ambulance will be able to transmit live patient data rather than recording it in the ambulance and handing over the patient's printout to ER physicians after arriving at the hospital.

"We would like to thank Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center for being the first to step forward and partner with us in this venture," Malinchock said.

"The staffs at ERs in the county have repeatedly stated how the 12-lead reports prior to and after treating patients in the field have helped with further treatment and stabilization of the patients," Tri-Community President Ken Devole said. "By the hospital being able to see the information prior to our arrival in ER1, it will shorten the time to definitive treatment of the patient."

The Medtronic LIFENET RS Receiving Station will:

• Enhance ER1's efficiency by allowing clinical staff to prepare triage activities before patient arrival by reading real-time patient data transmitted by ambulances equipped with the LIFEPAK12 electronic patient care reporting system.
• Improve patient diagnosis and speed treatment instructions to paramedics. LIFENET RS allows the patient's historical ECG records to be combined and compared to the current ECG data, thus improving the timeliness of heart attack diagnosis.
• Decrease time to treatment for heart attack patients.

Dennis O'Dowd, EMT, an informatics specialist for Medtronic Emergency Response Systems, said patients experiencing a heart attack have the best opportunity for a positive outcome if they receive treatment within the "Golden Hour" after the onset of signs and symptoms.

"Paramedics will now be able to transmit ECG data to the hospital prior to the patient's arrival, thus giving the emergency staff time to prepare triage activities. Physicians and nurses can ready Memorial's PET scanner, have thrombolytic clot-busting treatment ready to go and, if necessary, notify the closest cardiac catheterization lab. Thrombolytic therapy treatment can be reduced to as little as 15 minutes after the patient enters the ED, compared to an average of 42 minutes if the ECG is done at the hospital," O'Dowd said.

Dr. Stephen Lopez, Memorial's chief of emergency services, said the ability to monitor a patient's ECG before the patient arrives at ER1 will give physicians a valuable head start.

"When a patient is suffering a heart attack, every minute counts," Dr. Lopez said. "This will certainly save lives."

"It's the wave of the future, a tool that will enable physicians at Memorial to give potentially lifesaving pre-hospital treatment directions to paramedics and EMTs as they are transporting heart attack patients," added Dr. Michael Merhige, medical director of the Heart of Niagara at Memorial.

ER1 will soon be receiving and interpreting real-time ECG data from other EMS providers, as well. Rural/Metro Medical Services is purchasing 55 of the LIFEPAK12 electronic patient care reporting systems and expects to have them installed in their ambulances by January, Rural/Metro spokesman Steven A. Beauchamp said.

"This system is a perfect fit for us as we prepare to move both ER1 and The Heart Center of Niagara into the new facility we are building for them," Memorial President and CEO Joseph A. Ruffolo said. "It will certainly enhance our status as the only fully integrated cardiac care center and emergency department in the region."

Ruffolo thanks staff for making Memorial a great place to work

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