In less than the time it takes to deliver a pizza, Richard Rollins entered the doors of Banner Baywood Medical Center Emergency department and had his artery opened to stop a heart attack at Banner Heart Hospital.
Rollins, an Apache Junction resident, was a beneficiary of Cardiac Alert, a partnership between East Valley emergency responders and the Banner Baywood campus to treat heart attack victims in less than 90 minutes.
The Cardiac Alert Program was started at Banner Heart Hospital after collaboration between Banner Heart Hospital and its Cardiology physicians, Emergency Medical Service(EMS) paramedics in the East Valley, and the Banner Baywood Medical Center Emergency department (ED).
How it works:
- An East Valley resident feels chest pain and dials 911.
- Responding EMS paramedics, who have had advanced training to interpret electrocardiograms, assess the patient and fax the reports to the ED at Banner Baywood Medical Center from the field.
- The paramedics confirm the reports over the phone with an ED physician.
- Paramedics call the Acute Cardiac Transfer/Acceptance call line at Banner Heart Hospital with patient information.
- The Cardiac Alert program is activated, meaning admitting experts begin processing patient information and personnel from the catheterization laboratory begin preparing for the patient.
- The patient is quickly moved within minutes through the ED and taken to the catheterization laboratory to have their artery opened.
The American College of Cardiology has a standard of 90 minutes from the time heart attack patients walk into an emergency room to the time their arteries are opened as the standard of care. At Banner Heart Hospital, patients often go from “door to balloon” in less than an hour, and in Rollins’ case, 29 minutes.
Rollins said he had never had high blood pressure or cholesterol, but that both of his parents had heart problems. So when he started to feel sick, he thought about driving himself to the hospital.
“But then a voice went off in my head: ‘Let the boys do it.’ And they were here in minutes,” he said.
Better off at Banner Heart
It was fortunate for Rollins that he called Apache Junction’s paramedic team, because results from the Cardiac Alert program have shown that patients suffering from heart attacks are better off dialing 911 and requesting Banner Heart Hospital than driving themselves to the nearest emergency room.
Banner Heart Hospital Chief Medical Officer Mark Starling, MD said the program has worked so well because the staff took its time to train paramedics to identify an electrocardiogram correctly more than 90 percent of the time.
Residents need to know
Starling emphasized the need for East Valley residents to know about Banner Heart Hospital’s superior patient service.
“Apache Junction, Gilbert and Mesa residents need to know about the Cardiac Alert program,” Dr. Starling said. “If the community doesn’t know, it’s not going to get the care it deserves. We have a track record nobody can match. It’s worth the drive.”