Technology speeds up the golden hour

Heart attack survivor thanks LifeNet

A well known medical maxim: "Time is Muscle" is especially true when it comes to treating heart attacks.

The national benchmark for saving patients with serious heart attacks known as ST elevation myocardial infarction, or STEMI, is 90 minutes. Dr. Wilberto Lester Lopez, M.D. at Central Florida Regional Hospital explained the variety of symptoms.

"On television, its always the crushing chest pain going down their arm," said Dr. Lopez, "unfortunately its not always like that."

Lisa Pementil is a med tech for an assisted living facility who works with patients every day, but admits she almost ignored her own symptoms.

"It started like tingling in my fingertips and then it would be like an ache, that would start and work its way up your arm then it went across my shoulders and down the other arm," said Pementil.

Hours after her symptoms began, Pementil called 911.

"It was very scary, very scary, until I saw Dr. Lopez," said Pementil.

A new technology called LifeNet allowed Dr. Lopez to look at Pementil's EKG results as soon as paramedics arrived at her house.

Firefighter paramedic Robert Brandon Lindemann uses the LifeNet software on emergency calls. He described the technology as a way to send life-saving information back and forth as fast as a text message.

"It's saving minutes and therefore it's saving people's lives and also the quality of life," said Lindemann.

Dr. Lopez said as soon he saw Pementil was suffering from a STEMI heart attack, he could immediately plan for her arrival.

"Call the cath team in, they call the interventional cardiologist on call, and then as the patient is being brought to the hospital we're on our way as well," said Dr. Lopez.

Using LifeNet, Central Florida Regional Hospital was able to open Pementil's blocked artery in 31 minutes, less than half the national benchmark.

And when every minute counts, Pementil called herself living proof that the teamwork and technology is getting results.

"I didn't feel worried, and I wasn't afraid, and that was half the battle right there," said Pementil.

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