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City of Goodyear, Arizona

Communications Office


For Immediate Release: May 27, 2009


Goodyear Fire and West Valley Hospital

team up to save lives


GOODYEAR, ARIZ. (May 27, 2009) ? A new emergency network using the latest technology is helping the Goodyear Fire Department and West Valley Hospital beat the clock when responding to one of the most serious types of heart attacks.


Last month, Goodyear Fire Department paramedics and other EMS partners in the area helped more than 50 patients receive the care they needed nearly 20 percent faster than national guidelines recommend.


In April, 53 patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarctions, or STEMI, were transported to West Valley Hospital, where they received procedures in the cath lab. The average time between arriving at the Emergency Room and reaching cardiac catheterization lab where a tiny balloon was used to open the blocked artery ? often called the ?door-to-balloon-time? -- was just 71 minutes. That?s nearly 20 percent faster than the 90-minute national guideline recommended by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association.


STEMI is an exceptionally dangerous type of heart attack that involves one or more of the arteries in the heart becoming blocked, usually when a bit of plaque breaks off. When this happens, oxygen can?t reach the heart and the cells begin to starve and die. The clogged artery must be opened fast, and every minute counts.


As an acute care facility, West Valley Hospital regularly treats patients with this type of cardiac condition. The STEMI sends out an electrical signal that can be detected by an electrocardiogram. The EKG can be administered while transporting the patient to the hospital.


?This technology is great because it gives us the ability to really maximize the care we can provide for our patients,? said Paul Luizzi, deputy fire chief with the Goodyear Fire Department.


When a 57-year-old patient who was short of breath, complaining of chest pains and had a family history of heart disease was recently taken by ambulance to West Valley Hospital, the Goodyear Fire Department paramedics wasted no time putting the new protocol into practice.


They started the EKG, which immediately sent vital information from heart monitors and cell phones directly to West Valley Hospital. Using Bluetooth technology, critical information went straight to the Emergency Department. There, it was received by a nurse who began the ?chest pain rapid response? before the patient even arrived at the ambulance bay.


The approach can shave as much as 20 minutes off the ?door-to-balloon time? gold standard of 90 minutes, the national guideline developed by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association.


?At West Valley Hospital, we?re able to receive information on potential cardiac patients before they even enter the emergency department,? said Noreen Vanca, director of emergency services. ?Receiving EKGs from our Goodyear Fire emergency medical service partners from the field greatly impacts our door-to-balloon times.? 


Initiatives like these are helping hospitals trim their door-to-balloon time, by nearly 20 percent in many cases. The time patients spend in the field or in an ambulance being cared for by EMS personnel is also a vital part of that chain of care, which is why strong communication with first responders is so important.

?This partnership between the hospital and community enables patients to receive care more quickly and efficiently, helping to save heart muscle during a heart attack,? Vanca said.


About West Valley Hospital?West Valley Hospital is a 164-bed, acute care community hospital located in Goodyear, Arizona.  From state-of-the-art obstetrics and a full-service emergency department, to medical and surgical services, cardiovascular and intensive care, West Valley Hospital is dedicated to meeting the greatest needs in our communities by providing the most comprehensive healthcare available.  With exceptional people providing exceptional patient care, West Valley Hospital is fully accredited by the Joint Commission.






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City of Goodyear • 190 N. Litchfield Road • Goodyear AZ 85338 • Phone 623-932-3910 • Toll-Free 1-800-872-1749