Paramedics partner with Wisconsin hospital to get heart attack patients straight to surgery

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Kenosha, Wis.-based Froedtert South Hospital partnered with local paramedics to implement "Straight to Cath" — a program that saves crucial time by allowing paramedics to bypass the emergency room and get heart attack patients straight to the cardiac catheterization lab for surgery, Kenosha News reports. 

The program differs from the old protocol by allowing paramedics from the Kenosha Fire Department to read EKG results and directly alert the cardiologist if they see indicators of a heart attack. Patients are then directly brought to the lab. Before the program, paramedics sent EKG results to the hospital and alerted the emergency department they were coming. Emergency staff at the hospital would then often run the same tests already performed in the ambulance before getting the patient to surgery. 

"This isn't something out of [paramedics'] skill set," Michael Rosenberg, MD, interventional cardiologist at Froedtert South, told Kenosha News. "This isn't something they had new training to do. They all had the skills." The process saves about 40 minutes, Dr. Rosenberg added. 

Froedtert South and KFD launched the program Nov. 4 and hope to include all of the local fire departments by the end of the year. So far, KFD paramedics have identified four heart attack patients they've taken to the cath lab. Each patient had a successful outcome.

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