Communication between paramedics and the hospital is vital when transporting heart patients.
Last week, the Euless Fire Department was among 15 North Texas cities that were recognized by the American Heart Association with the Mission Lifeline EMS award for implementing improvement measures for treating patients with severe heart attacks.
“This is our first year to be in the program. We were really fortunate that we were able to qualify for the bronze award with the number of patients we transported,” said Jeff Morris, assistant fire chief.
Morris said Euless submitted data from 2014 showing that paramedics transported 10 patients showing symptoms of a heart attack.
The goal is to have the patient in surgery to open up a blocked artery in less than 60 minutes after receiving the 911 call, Morris said.
For instance, when paramedics arrive at someone’s home, they immediately do a 12-lead electrocardiogram, which is read and transmitted to the hospital via a Bluetooth connection. A heart attack evaluation must be done within five minutes, he said
Agencies must apply for the award, which includes meeting specific criteria when transporting patients, said Brian Brooks, director of communications for the American Heart Association of Tarrant County.
The number of cities that were recognized more than doubled from seven in 2014 to 15 this year, he said.
The Mission Lifeline award is given to agencies based on performance data from 2014 showing a 75 percent or higher compliance in three areas.
Mission Lifeline is all about transporting heart patients in a timely manner, he said.
“Once paramedics show up on the sceen, communication starts with the hospital so that the patient is ready to be treated,” Brooks said.
“If they are having a major heart attack or other symptoms, care has already started from the time they call 911.”
Brooks said the American Heart Association wants to increase awareness of the “Don’t die of doubt” campaign, which encourages people to call 911 rather than to drive themselves to the hospital.
“If you drive yourself to the hospital, they are not going to be ready for you when you get there,” Brooks said.
But if someone with chest pains, shortness of breath and other symptoms calls 911, communication with the hospital begins immediately, and paramedics can also begin treatment. The care is “seamless,” he said.
Euless is not the only city that follows the American Heart Association guidelines, Morris said. Hurst, Bedford and Grapevine also participate.
“It is important for cities to champion awareness of calling 911,” he said.
“Don’t delay calling when you have signs and symptoms. Most people will deny they are having a heart attack,” he said.
Signs include severe chest pain, shortness of breath, sweating and anxiety.
Elizabeth Campbell, 817-390-7696
A closer look
Here is a list of area cities that were recognized by the American Heart Association. Note, bronze indicates meeting performance standards for one calendar quarter, silver for one year and gold for two consecutive years.
Euless Fire Department
Mansfield Fire Department
Midlothian Fire Department
DeSoto Fire Rescue
Southlake Fire Department
Keller Fire Rescue
Cedar Hill Fire Department
Frisco Fire Department
Grapevine Fire Department
Grand Prairie Fire Department
Rowlett Fire Rescue
Plano Fire Rescue
Garland Fire Department