A new study published online yesterday in Circulation found that people suffering from major heart attacks are being treated much faster than just five years ago: The median time it took for patients to undergo the artery-widening procedure, balloon angioplasty, from the moment they arrived at a hospital's doors declined from 96 to 64 minutes between 2005 and 2010, the study says.
At Stanford Hospital & Clinics, the so-called door-to-balloon time averaged just 61 minutes in 2010, and the hospital is working on bringing that figure down even more with the help of wireless technology, which I wrote about in a news release:
The system, which launched March 1, enables Stanford emergency physicians to examine a patient's electrocardiogram, or ECG, before that patient even departs in the ambulance for the hospital. It also gives the hospital an opportunity to assemble a team of cardiovascular nurses and interventional cardiologists ... before the patient arrives. ...
Although the portable monitor/defibrillator - a boombox-sized device you often see with paramedics treating someone in the field - has long been a fixture on ambulances, its ability to share ECGs with medical personnel who are not at the scene has greatly advanced with the growth and sophistication of wireless broadband technology over the last several years.