News | July 28, 2008

Physio-Control’s LIFENET STEMI Named One of the Year’s Hot Products

July 29, 2008 - The Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS) recently named Physio-Control’s LIFENET STEMI Management Solution, a combination of Web, broadband and medical technology, that reduces time to treatment for heart attack patients as one of its “Hot Products for 2008.”

The solution is potentially lifesaving for patients experiencing STEMI (ST-elevation myocardial infarction), a dangerous form of heart attack that impedes or blocks blood flow to the heart. The LIFENET STEMI Management Solution allows paramedics to use the latest broadband technology to transmit diagnostic-quality cardiac information (12-lead ECGs) from the LIFEPAK 12 defibrillator/monitor in the field to a Web-based system managed by Physio-Control. The system then reliably and securely distributes the information via the Internet to hospital care teams on Internet-connected devices, including computers in the emergency department and cardiac cath lab as well as the cardiologist’s handheld device. Rapid delivery of 12-lead ECG data alerts care teams to a STEMI patient as quickly as possible, allowing them to prepare ahead of the patient’s arrival.

“The addition of the LIFENET technology to our arsenal has been of great benefit to our patients,” said David Chisholm, battalion chief, Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue Services, Maryland. “It has proven very effective in transmitting high quality 12-lead ECG recordings to our receiving facility. This allows the receiving physician to feel confident in the field provider’s interpretation of the 12-lead and activate the cath lab team. It is great to see the cath lab team waiting for the patient when they roll through the emergency department door.”
Because STEMI affects one or more of the arteries that carry blood to the heart, it poses a serious threat to the heart muscle. Treatment includes balloon angioplasty, often with stent placement, in the hospital’s cardiac catheterization lab, hence the term door-to-balloon time. Studies show that time from the onset of STEMI to treatment is critical for improving survival and outcomes for these patients. Having this new system enables patient care teams to more consistently meet the guideline for treatment in 90 minutes or less, as recommended by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.
Although Physio-Control is currently under a consent decree with the FDA, under certain exceptions, the company is permitted to manufacture and ship a limited selection of product to meet the most critical needs of emergency response customers. LIFENET STEMI Management Solution is included in the exceptions, enabling all government and a limited number of private customers to upgrade their systems in order to better meet the current standard of care for STEMI patients.

Physio-Control is a wholly owned subsidiary of Medtronic.

The American Heart Association estimates every year nearly 400,000 people in the U.S. experience STEMI. Pre-hospital diagnosis of STEMI is essential to improving care. Studies report a significant relationship between pre-hospital 12-lead ECGs and shorter door-to-balloon times, with two recent studies showing the effect was strongest when the cath lab was activated while the patient was still en route to the hospital (Circulation, 2006). The Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2006) reported mortality for acute cardiac events has been shown to increase 40 percent if door-to-balloon time stretches from 90 minutes to 120 minutes.

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