HOW IT ALL WORKS
Davis said EFD rescue personnel working in the field use portable machines to record an ECG. The results are then electronically transmitted instantly to the receiving hospital, Davis said. EMSA is among other agencies with this ability.
INTEGRIS Health Edmond recently opened a heart lab with a state-of-the-art vascular imaging system. In the hospital, the information from rescue personnel in the field arrives at a computer monitored by staff, said Angie Smith, emergency room clinical director for INTEGRIS Health Edmond. An alert signal tells them if the incoming data is an ECG, Smith said.
A cardiologist reads the ECG and looks for patterns among the heartbeats and rhythms to diagnose various heart conditions, Smith said. If further treatment is required, the patient is admitted to the hospital’s heart lab.
Scott Tulane, director of the hospital’s radiology department, said its vascular imaging system is used for a wide variety of radiology and cardiology applications including procedures that study the cardiovascular system to identify blocked arteries.
Prabhu said percutaneous coronary intervention is used to open narrowed or blocked blood vessels that supply blood to the heart.
In the hospital’s heart lab, a patient lies on a padded table where a doctor inserts a flexible tube (catheter) through a surgical cut into an artery, Prabhu said. A doctor uses live x-ray pictures to carefully guide the catheter up into the heart and arteries. Dye is injected into the body to highlight blood flow through the arteries. This helps the doctor see blockages in the blood vessels leading to the heart.
A guide wire is moved into and across the blockage. A balloon catheter is pushed over the guide wire and into the blockage. The balloon on the end is blown up (inflated), opening the blocked vessel and restoring proper blood flow to the heart.
A wire mesh tube (stent) may then be placed in this blocked area. It is inserted along with the balloon catheter. It expands when the balloon is inflated. The stent is left there to help keep the artery open.
Prabhu said the procedure can be completed in less than 20-45 minutes depending on the complexity of the case.
Tulane said INTEGRIS Health Edmond’s system design enables physicians to view different anatomical areas without repositioning the patient. Most cath lab technology requires clinicians to work from the right side only limiting procedures, Tulane said. Physicians can also process and view images in real-time, which helps speed up diagnosis and treatment planning.
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