Lifenet transmits defibrillator information from paramedics to hospital via broadband

5 August 2008

Physio-Control, a wholly owned subsidiary of Medtronic, has introduced the Lifenet STEMI Management Solution, a combination of web, broadband and medical technology, that reduces time to treatment for heart attack patients.

The system is potentially lifesaving for patients experiencing STEMI (ST-elevation myocardial infarction), a dangerous form of heart attack that impedes or blocks blood flow to the heart. The Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS) recently named Lifenet technology as one of its Hot Products for 2008.

The Lifenet STEMI Management Solution allows paramedics to use broadband technology to transmit diagnostic-quality cardiac information (12-lead ECGs) from the Lifepak 12 defibrillator/monitor in the field to a web-based system managed by Physio-Control.

The system then reliably and securely distributes the information via the Internet to hospital care teams on internet-connected devices, including computers in the hospital emergency department and cardiac catheterization (cath) lab as well as a cardiologist’s handheld device.

The system enables care providers to make treatment decisions while the patient is still in transport. The medical team can transport patients to a facility capable of providing the appropriate treatment, where the cardiac catheterization (cath) lab is prepared in advance, avoiding delays in treatment.

Because STEMI affects one or more of the arteries that carry blood to the heart, it poses a serious threat to the heart muscle. Treatment includes balloon angioplasty, often with stent placement, in the hospital’s cardiac catheterization lab, hence the term 'door to balloon' (D2B) time.

Studies show that time from the onset of STEMI to treatment is critical for improving survival and outcomes for these patients. Having this new system enables patient care teams to more consistently meet the guideline for treatment in 90 minutes or less, as recommended by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.

“The addition of the Lifenet technology to our arsenal has been of great benefit to our patients,” said David Chisholm, battalion chief, Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue Services, Maryland, USA. “It has proven very effective in transmitting high quality 12-lead ECG recordings to our receiving facility. This allows the receiving physician to feel confident in the field provider’s interpretation of the 12-lead and activate the cath lab team. It is great to see the cath lab team waiting for the patient when they roll through the emergency department door.”

Brian Webster, president of Physio-Control, said, “Physio-Control has long been a pioneer in helping medical teams care for patients with life-threatening cardio-respiratory events. As the first web-based system for STEMI management, the Lifenet system delivers lifesaving information when and where it is needed. This helps communities set up STEMI-alert systems that can have a dramatic effect on reducing door to balloon times for patients by helping care providers make timely treatment decisions. This can save lives and improve outcomes for STEMI patients.”

Although Physio-Control is currently under a consent decree with the FDA, under certain exceptions, the company is permitted to manufacture and ship a limited selection of product to meet the most critical needs of emergency response customers. The Lifenet STEMI Management Solution is included in the exceptions, enabling all government and a limited number of private customers to upgrade their systems in order to better meet the current standard of care for STEMI patients.


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