Cardiology
Cardiology

Mission Lifeline

People with heart attack symptoms need immediate care to have the best recovery possible. In the case of a kind of heart attack called STEMI, getting the right care quickly can be a matter of life and death.

STEMI is the name for ST-elevation myocardial infarction, which refers to the electrical pattern of the heart during this type of heart attack. With a STEMI, the blood supply to a large area of the heart is blocked for a prolonged period. People having a STEMI are at high risk for death or disability if they don’t get the proper care within 90 minutes.

Proper care includes clot-busting drugs called thrombolytics, or a procedure such as balloon angioplasty, stent placement or surgery. But according to the American Heart Association, about 30 percent of people who have a STEMI don’t get that care. Mission Lifeline is a program that aims to change that. Community Medical Center is one of nine centers in Montana to participate in this program, which funds customized training for hospital and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel to recognize and treat STEMI.

Mission Lifeline also funds 12-lead EKG machines and transmission equipment for ambulances, so rescue personnel can send the test results from there to the treatment facility. That way the emergency department doctors can diagnose STEMI even before the patient arrives, and give the right treatment at the right time.

In Montana, nearly 1800 people were hospitalized for an acute heart attack in 2012, and 777 of them were STEMIs. Mission Lifeline will help Community Medical Center improve the outcomes for STEMI patients in our area.

To learn more about Mission Lifeline, visit the American Heart Association at www.heart.org.