April 16, 2009 - An estimated 1,000 lives could be saved each year if heart attack patients received faster emergency care during and immediately after a heart attack. Recognizing that each minute lost could mean the difference between saving a life - or losing it - mobile intensive care unit (MICU) first responders from St. Joseph's Healthcare System in Paterson, NJ, recently began implementing therapeutic cooling in the pre-hospital setting.
Hospital officials said the move makes St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center the only hospital in the region to perform the life-saving measure in the field.
"We are setting a trend in critical care," explained Mark Rosenberg, DO, chairman, emergency medicine, St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center. "Being able to provide our patients, especially our time-sensitive cardiac patients, with innovative and successful protocols in life-saving care is our mission. This makes St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center, a state designated trauma center, a true leader in emergency care. Having our MICU team initiate therapeutic cooling as cardiac arrest survivors are transported to St. Joseph's is a complement to the overall continuum of care provided to our patients at the medical center."
Therapeutic hypothermia is a body-cooling protocol to stabilize cardiac arrest patients whose hearts have stopped and have been restarted. The MICU team initiates this cooling procedure at the scene for patients who are being brought to the medical center, and it is continued for 24-36 hours in the hospital. St. Joseph's also uses this procedure for those patients who are being cared for in the medical center. Therapeutic hypothermia after cardiac arrest has been supported by the American Heart Association for many years and has been used to save lives at St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center, the facility said.
EMS providers have implemented therapeutic cooling protocols around the country, including Seattle, Boston, Raleigh, NC, Houston, Phoenix, and New York.
For more information: www.stjosephshealth.org