ACCELERATING LIFESAVING CARE
“We’re cutting precious minutes off of what we call first contact to balloon time,” Dr. Rosenberg said, “meaning the time from when the EMS crew arrives at the scene of the heart attack, until the patient’s artery is opened up in the cath lab. And those time savings are making a huge difference for patients.”
They certainly made a difference for Walter. “They told me that by doing the prep work on the way to the hospital they’d saved 20 or 30 minutes,” Walter said. “Those minutes just might have saved my life.”
“The time from when EMS arrived at his home until we had opened the artery in the cath lab was 43 minutes,” said Scott McArthey, Senior Director at Froedtert South. “He was having a massive heart attack and in less than an hour his artery was opened up, and he went home the next day feeling fine.”
Results like that are why rescue squads fell in love with the Straight-to-Cath program from the start. “We thought, ‘This is what’s next’,” said Jim Poltrock, recently retired EMS Chief of the Kenosha Fire Department. “This is how we can get even better. What we’re now doing in
the field helps patients get the life-saving care they need in less time. Working together with Froedtert South to implement this has been very rewarding.”
Last November, Froedtert South launched Straight-to-Cath with the Kenosha Fire Department – recipient of four American Heart Association Mission: Lifeline awards for the high standard of care they provide to heart patients. Since then, the program has expanded to all EMS squads in Kenosha County, with further growth planned. “We’re already serving the people in our community right here in Kenosha County,” Dr. Sanborn said. “And the goal is to expand this into northern Illinois, Walworth County, and Racine County.”
“Straight-to-Cath is growing,” Dr. Rosenberg added, “because EMS crews really like the program. It empowers them to apply more of their knowledge and abilities in these situations. We want them to get credit they deserve for dramatically improving outcomes for heart attack patients."