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Speed is of the essence when treating a heart attack. In a matter of minutes, it can permanently damage the cardiac muscle, causing major health problems and even death. The more quickly patients receive treatment, the more likely they are to have a positive outcome.

Learn more about STEMI
Learn more about STEER

That’s why Texas Health has helped implement a new Web-based wireless technology that allows paramedics and other EMS personnel to instantly transmit an EKG (electrocardiogram) from the scene of an accident or medical emergency to computers at the hospital. The readout is automatically printed and wirelessly sent to the smart phones of doctors and nurses in the ER and cardiac unit. The system is especially designed to quickly identify a type of heart attack known as a STEMI (ST elevation myocardial infarction).

The American Heart Association estimates that nearly 400,000 people in the United States experience a STEMI every year. Studies have shown that “prehospital” EKGs can quicken treatment times by allowing clinicians to prepare for the patient while he or she is still en route to the hospital.

Regional program to improve speed of heart-attack care

STEER is a coordinated emergency-response program among North Texas hospitals that helps ensure that patients are sent to medical centers that provide proper care for heart attacks.

Within minutes, the CareFlite helicopters can be anywhere in the region and fly victims of potentially deadly heart attacks to hospitals with the latest technologies and treatments for their condition.

STEER stands for ST Elevation Emergency Response. ST Elevation refers to the type of heart attack, an ST-elevated myocardial infarction (STEMI), that the program most commonly treats. Someone suffering from a STEMI heart attack is typically in need of an angioplasty procedure in a cardiac catheterization laboratory. There, interventional cardiologists can thread a tiny wire through a leg artery, guide it to the site of the blockage in the patient’s heart, and deploy a small balloon to open the blockage.

The procedure, called balloon angioplasty, is the gold standard for STEMI treatments when clot-busting drugs cannot restore flow to all parts of the heart.

Texas Health is committed to providing quality care to heart and vascular patients throughout North Texas and beyond. Various technologies and services are discussed here, but not all of our hospitals offer every treatment and diagnostic technology highlighted. Call 1-877-THR-WELL to learn more about heart and vascular services at the Texas Health hospital in your area.