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Technology aids heart attack patients

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February 20, 2008

Thomasville-- From the moment the ambulance is called, not a second can be wasted.  "As a patient's having a heart attack, time is absolutely muscle. The sooner they can be treated, the better off they'll do," says Emergency Department Director, Mark Swicord.

The in-field EKGs now in ambulances in several southwest Georgia counties improve treatment time tremendously.  "This equipment helps us identify the heart attack a lot quicker, versus our old equipment. The new equipment is 12-lead, as opposed to 3-lead.  We can look at the 4 sections of the heart and identify a heart attack a lot quicker," explains paramedic James Mann. 

While EMTs perform the EKG, the information is sent simultaneously to the hospital.  "This allows us to have a diagnosis on the patient before they arrive at the hospital and we already have a treatment plan laid out and everybody in place," Swicord says.

But doctors say people need to be aware of their cardiac risk and take preventative measures now, before a heart attack happens. One way they do that is a screening called calcium scoring. "If there is calcium present in the arteries of the heart, that could indicate that there is coronary artery disease present," says cardiologist Dr. Robert Miles.

A quick and painless procedure, it provides the greatest help to those at an intermediate risk for coronary disease.  "Everyone that's over the age of 21 should know what their cardiac risk is, to know what should be done about that if anything. And again this is all in the hopes of preventing you from needing me," Miles says.

But when you do need them, you can rest assured they're working hard to make sure you get the fastest treatment possible. 

You can get free health screenings to find out your cardiac risk at the Thomasville Community Resource Center. To make an appointment call 229-226-5846.

 

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