For Immediate Release

October 26, 2006

John Moore
Media Relations
(903) 531-4542


Code STEMI Has Reduced Time From Transport To Treatment From 137 Minutes to Less than 90 Minutes

TYLER, TX - The time between emergency transport of an acute heart attack patient and a life-saving heart catheterization is critical. To best utilize the vital minutes during transport, the Cardiac Team at the Trinity Mother Frances Heart Institute and the physicians and staff at Mother Frances Hospital's Emergency Care Center are now using Code STEMI (ST-segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction), a system that since being implemented at Mother Frances Hospital in February 2006, has reduced the time between transport and treatment of acute heart attack victims from greater than 135 minutes to less than 90 minutes.

STEMI refers to the method for using an EKG device to diagnose an acute heart attack.

The Code STEMI initiative includes a collaborative effort among outlying hospitals, multiple EMS companies, Flight for Life and Mother Frances Hospital. Once a person is identified as a Code STEMI patient, he or she is transported to Mother Frances Hospital-Tyler via any emergency transport service for life-saving treatment in the cardiac catheterization labs.

Since 2002, acute heart attack patients transported by Trinity Mother Frances' Champion EMS ambulances to Mother Frances Hospital-Tyler have benefited from the Lifepak-12รข, a 12-lead device that can transmit cardiac information from the ambulance to the Hospital's Emergency Care Center. Emergency care physicians read the EKG while a patient is in transport.

"Champion EMS first installed this system four years ago," said Laura Owen, senior vice president of operations, Trinity Mother Frances Health System. "However, after several benchmark studies revealed precious time was lost in the emergency room, the decision was made to take acute heart attack patients directly to the cath lab, bypassing the Emergency Care Center. With the technology in place to have the EKG transmitted from ground or air (including Flight for Life), we are able to have the heart staff ready and waiting in the cath lab."

Utilizing Code STEMI, an Emergency Care Center physician receives an EKG via mobile transmission, interprets the information and, if necessary, quickly mobilizes the appropriate members of the Trinity Mother Frances Cardiac Team.

"The clock begins ticking the minute a patient presents in a regional emergency center. Once the ECC physician has identified a patient experiencing an acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) they can immediately activate the Code STEMI process so the patient can be transferred to Tyler for a heart cath to determine whether they need a stent, angioplasty or other procedure," said Roderick B. Meese, MD, medical director of cardiac services for Trinity Mother Frances Health System and cardiologist with Tyler Cardiovascular Consultants. "Code STEMI has drastically reduced wait times for patients needing an emergency heart catheterization to open up a blocked cardiac artery. At this time, we're the only facility in the east Texas area using the Code STEMI approach to acute heart attack care."

"Code STEMI better prepares and organizes our Emergency Care Center physicians and clinicians to assist cardiac patients," said Earnest Stroupe, MD, medical director, emergency care medicine, Trinity Mother Frances Health System. "The Trinity Mother Frances Emergency Care Center in Tyler sees one of the largest volumes of cardiac patients in the region. Code STEMI will help thousands of patients have better clinical outcomes."

Mother Frances Hospital-Tyler performed the first heart bypass procedure in east Texas in 1983 and offers some of the most advanced cardiac technology in the world, including minimally-invasive heart surgery using the da Vinci Robotic System. The Trinity Mother Frances Heart Institute was the first to offer the magnetic precision of the Stereotaxis cardiac catheterization suite. The Center For Advanced Surgery and Technology opened the Trinity Mother Frances Surgical Training Center in January 2006 to offer physicians from around the world the opportunity to learn how to use this technology.

For more information on services available through Trinity Mother Frances Health System, visit www.tmfhs.org.

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