Case study: Program treats heart attacks quicker

An Indianapolis, IN area hospital has been getting great results from a new protocol it initiated to treat heart attacks more quickly. The hospital's Emergency Heart Attack Response Team has been given a simple but unusual privilege, that of being allowed to activate the cath lab. In the past, a cardiologist would do an examination first, then refer the patient to the team.

This small change cuts patients' door-to-angioplasty times dramatically, from 113 minutes to 74 minutes. Also, 71 percent of patients were treated within 90 minutes of arriving at the hospital, which meets current clinical guidelines. Meanwhile, the average hospital stay dropped from five to three days, which cut costs by an average $10,000 per person. What's more, 15 percent of patients had no heart damage from their attacks.

To learn more about the program:
- read this article in The Indianapolis Star

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