St. Elizabeth honors Edgewood firefighters for treatment of stroke patient

Patricia A. Scheyer
Patricia A. Scheyer
Patricia is a contributor to LINK nky.

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St. Elizabeth Hospital Emergency Services came to the Edgewood City Council meeting Monday night to honor two firefighter/paramedics for their quick response time in transporting a patient who was having a stroke.

Tissue Plasminogen Activator, or TPA, is a powerful blood thinner that is used to treat stroke patients on an emergency basis. It was first used in 1996, although it was viewed as risky at the time.

Due to the fact that stroke is the third leading cause of death for adults, and the main cause of adult disability all over the world, the chief treatment for stroke is TPA because it is so effective in busting up the clots that block blood flow and cause brain tissue to die.

The term door to needle means the time between the patient’s home and the administration of TPA through a needle dosage.

“Edgewood EMS personnel were involved in the transport of a stroke patient leading to the fastest door-to-needle delivery of TPA for the St. Elizabeth healthcare system in the month of September,” said Betty McGee, an educator at the St. Elizabeth Emergency Services. “On behalf of St. Elizabeth healthcare and the American Heart Association, we would like to recognize them for their exceptional care of this patient that led to the delivery of TPA within 37 minutes of arrival at the St. Elizabeth facility.”

Firefighter/Paramedic Chris Wittenberger and Firefighter/EMT Mason Hale were given certificates and pink brain pins for their achievement.

Target Stroke is a national quality improvement initiative that was started in 2010 by the American Heart Association. It focuses on improving ischemic stroke care by reducing the door-to-needle time for eligible patients to receive IV thrombolytic treatment once they arrive at the hospital.

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The door-to-needle time recommended by the AHA is less than 45 minutes, so when area EMT teams are able to accomplish that goal, St. Elizabeth Emergency Services likes to highlight that accomplishment.

Target Stroke not only has worked to improve door-to-needle times, but according to the AHA, it also increased the number of patients receiving treatment quickly, which in turn has lowered in-hospital mortality, along with less bleeding and more patients returning home.

The program enrolled 1,200 hospitals in its first year in the United States, with the primary goal of reaching at least half of their stroke patients within 60 minutes.

In Phase two, the goal was to reach 75 percent of the patients within 60 minutes, and then the net goal was to achieve door-to-needle times of 45 minutes or less for fifty percent of the patients.

“This is a big deal,” said Missy Miles, assistant VP of Emergency Services. “It’s positive outcomes for our patients, streamlining care from pre-hospital to hospital.”

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