New Process Improves Care for Emergency Cardiac Patients

From left to right: Terri Gurney, Manager of the Hospital’s Cardiac Catheterization Lab, Andrew Dillon, Deputy Chief of Professional Standards with Superior North EMS, and paramedics Andrew Cuglietta and Kyle Kuoppa-Aho

Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre has teamed up with Superior North Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to implement a new process that will improve the level and speed of care provided to emergency cardiac patients.

“Time is crucial for patients experiencing a heart attack. The quicker they can be seen and treated, the better the outcomes,” said Terri Gurney, Manager of the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at the Hospital. “This new process can be the difference between life and death for some cases. With our partners at Superior North EMS, we could speed up the time it takes for patients to be seen by a cardiac specialist by as much as 15 minutes, and that is significant.”

The new process empowers paramedics to assess patients they suspect may be experiencing a heart attack and transmit data from an electrocardiogram directly to the cardiology team at the Hospital. If the cardiology team confirms the heart attack; or myocardial infarction, they will activate the Cardiac Cath Lab response team before the patient even enters the Emergency Department. The Emergency Department remains engaged to support the paramedics while the Catheterization Lab is prepared. Once ready, the paramedics will then bring patients directly to the Lab, which helps save precious time.

“We are fortunate to be working with some of the highest trained Interventional Cardiologists, Cath Lab nurses and paramedics in the province. The hard work and dedication they have put in, from development and training to implementation, makes this exciting improvement a reality for our patients and families,” said Dr. Alireza Bagherli, Medical Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Lab. “It’s crucial that anyone who may be experiencing a heart attack calls immediately calls 9-1-1 so that our skilled paramedics can do their job, and help us do ours.”
This process is a great example of how our Hospital and emergency medical services work together to ensure the best care possible is provided to patients and families.

“We have been working on this with the Hospital for some time now, so it is great to have all the pieces in place to implement this life-saving service,” said Andrew Dillon, Deputy Chief, Superior North EMS. “Our focus is on providing all citizens and visitors in our community with the best pre-hospital care possible, and this initiative is another way for us to do this.”