View Full Version : NHS reveal...

31-May-11, 13:35
Clot-busting drug makes a difference

HEART attack victims in Highland have had years of their life saved thanks to a development that was established in NHS Highland’s Coronary Care Unit (CCU), based at Raigmore Hospital, two years ago.
Patients with heart attacks in Highland often require a life-saving drug called a thrombolytic or ‘clot buster’ and any delay in giving the patient this drug can reduce their life expectancy.
In February 2009 the Coronary Care Unit team, lead by Clinical Ward Manager Charlie Bloe, set up a pre-hospital thrombolysis service after an audit showed, only one in four eligible patients, receive clot busters before they get to hospital. Over the past six months, a review has shown, that now three out of every four patients have received a clot buster before arriving at hospital.
Mr Bloe credits the hard work of all involved for this increase, but is quick to point out that this must continue in order to achieve 100%.
He said: “For every one minute’s delay, in giving this drug a heart attack patient’s life expectancy is reduced by 11 days, a half-hour delay can reduce your life expectancy by a year.It is vitally important that people who think they are having a heart attack seek immediate medical assistance. However, it is also important that when they do that, we ensure they get their clot buster as quickly as possible.Just two years ago only 23% of patients were being given pre hospital thrombolysis that is now up to 76%.”
Mr Bloe explained that the system works by ambulance staff transmitting every ECG they record, from anywhere in the Highlands, into the new CCU system using mobile phone technology. Advanced interpretation of ECGs requires many years of coronary care experience. Sometimes GPs and Paramedics need some assistance in making the diagnosis.
A thrombolysis practitioner is available 24/7 to interpret the data and immediately calls the ambulance staff to discuss the diagnosis and hopefully increase delivery rates for thrombolysis before the patient is transferred to the hospital.
Mr Bloe said: “Scottish Ambulance Service crews really engaged with this programme and the improvement since it went live is a credit to everyone involved and to the hard work that has been put in.However, this hard work must continue. We want to have it at 100% and I know all staff involved will continue to work to ensure that is reached.”
Paul Gowans, Head of Clinical Governance and Quality, Scottish Ambulance Service, added: “Our paramedics and technicians are at the frontline of NHS care and the ability to transmit ECG data for decision support, along with the introduction of new defibrillators, allows them to work even more closely with the Coronary Care team to ensure the best possible treatment for patients.”