McKee's Cardiac Alert program ensures Loveland-area patients experiencing a heart attack get the quality care they need in the shortest time possible.
Cardic Alert is a process which allows patients experiencing a heart attack to be taken directly
to the catheterization lab, bypassing the emergency department. Time is muscle - the faster the artery is opened the better the patient outcome.
The CardioVascular Institute of North Colorado
at McKee (CVI) works with Thompson Valley Emergency Medical Services to offer the Cardiac Alert program. Paramedics use 12-lead ECG equipment to assess patient conditions in the field. This enables the paramedics to determine whether the patient is having a heart attack and would benefit from cardiac catheterization. From the ambulance, paramedics and hospital emergency services staff can call a Cardiac Alert. This notifies CVI cardiologists and cardiac cath lab staff members to be ready to treat the patient.
Upon arrival at the emergency department, the patient can be moved directly to the cardiac catheterization lab. In a cardiac catheterization, the CVI cardiologist takes pictures of the coronary arteries. If a coronary artery is narrowed or blocked, balloons and stents may be used to open up the arteries and improve blood flow.
Patients who are treated quickly tend to:
- Experience fewer immediate complications from the heart attack
- Have less heart muscle damage
- Are less likely to suffer from long-term heart failure.
The American College of Cardiology has set a benchmark of 90 minutes from the time heart attack patients arrive at the hospital to the time their artery is opened. The Cardiac Alert program at McKee allows this standard to be met and often exceeded.