For a patient suffering from heart attack time is muscle. Their chances of surviving it and returning home with little or no damage to the heart muscles depend on how fast the blocked artery is opened and the blood flow to it restored. The amount of time taken between onset of symptoms and treatment for the patient is critical and makes the difference between life and death.

Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue has deployed 46 Philips HeartStart MRx cardiac monitor/defibrillators each equipped with Philips Wireless Link option to its paramedic fire engines, trucks and medic units. These devices help emergency responders diagnose and start treating patients quickly.

TVF&R was one of the first adopters of Philips’ ALS monitor eight years ago and becomes the first fire department in the nation to use the device’s capability to wirelessly transmit EKG results from the field to the emergency room.

The new monitors enable firefighters and paramedics to assess patients for life-threatening heart conditions, provide gender-specific diagnostic criteria to enhance interpretation of cardiac symptoms in women and pinpoint culprit arteries that may be blocked.

The announcement of the deployment took place on the same day that cardiac patient and Wilsonville resident Bob Archer, a living testament to the effectiveness of wireless EKG transmission, reunited with the first responders, doctors and nurses who saved his life during a May 5 heart attack.

Archer was walking his dog when he felt pain in his chest. The pain increased and his left arm started to go numb. According to doctors, what Archer did next contributed to his positive outcome. Instead of driving himself to the emergency room like 80 percent of metro-area chest pain patients currently do, Archer decided to call 911.

Within minutes, firefighters and paramedics arrived and began medical care in Archer’s home.Archer was hooked up to a 12-lead EKG monitor, which allowed first responders to assess and begin treating his heart attack. His treatment continued on the way to Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center in Tualatin, where the EKG readings from Archer’s heart were wirelessly transmitted by AMR to emergency room staff and a cardiologist’s iPhone. Using wireless EKG transmission technology, which was implemented by Legacy Health, doctors developed a treatment plan and readied the hospital’s catheterization lab for Archer’s arrival.

The new cardiac monitors give TVF&R this same capability. “When I arrived at the emergency room, they were ready to go to work,” Archer said. “The doctors explained the procedure they would perform to unblock my artery and the next thing I knew I was in recovery. The total time from my arrival at the emergency room to the completion of my procedure was just 51 minutes — incredible.”

Following his full recovery, Archer said the advantages to calling 911 versus driving yourself to the hospital are many and he urges others who experience heart attack symptoms such as chest pain to call 911.

*Photo courtesy of TVF&R – Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue deployed 46 Philips HeartStart MRx cardiac monitor/defibrillators to its paramedic fire engines, trucks and medic units.

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