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A New Leap For Cardiac Technology

When determining if you or a loved one is experiencing a heart attack, you want cardiologists to have the best picture possible. At Texas Health hospitals, physicians have instant access to high-resolution photos in the palms of their hands.

Physicians on the medical staffs at Texas Health hospitals are among the first in the nation to pilot the use of a new diagnostic technology called AirStrip CARDIOLOGY™, a wireless system that enables care providers -- from the ambulance to the Emergency Department (ED) to the operating room -- to see digital electrocardiograms (EKGs) in their original-resolution formats right on their smartphones and tablets. This enables physicians to view an EKG or rhythm tracing faster and in more detail than ever before.

“AirStrip allows physicians to view a patient’s EKG almost instantly from nearly any location,” says John Willard, M.D., interventional cardiologist and medical director of Heart and Vascular Services at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth. “It also provides the complete EKG data rather than just an image, allowing for scrolling, zooming and measuring of the EKG in a very accurate and user-friendly format.”

Before these advances in imaging and sharing technology, physicians were charged with the task of reading EKGs that were faxed to them from the ED while paramedics were en route to the hospital. Faxed EKGs are often fuzzy or blurred when enlarged and sometimes difficult to read to determine an accurate diagnosis. The AirStrip technology overcomes this challenge and enables patients to receive
appropriate care more quickly due to better image quality.

Dr. Willard believes the AirStrip technology and its capabilities will allow a quicker and more accurate assessment of a patient’s EKG by his or her physician, which could ultimately save time and improve outcomes.

“Because paramedics can now rapidly transmit EKGs directly to physicians’ smartphones or tablets via AirStrip, physicians can actually help direct a patient’s care on their way to the hospital -- whether the patient is at the hospital or not,” Dr. Willard says. “This will potentially shave minutes off a patient’s wait for appropriate treatment. While minutes may sound underwhelming, heart muscle is slowly
dying during a heart attack. So really, time saved is heart muscle saved.”

Thanks to the availability of AirStrip CARDIOLOGY™ at Texas Health hospitals, physicians have the ability to examine test results from any location with cellular service 24 hours a day, potentially reducing delays in treatment for patients.

“When a cardiac patient is being monitored in the hospital, it’s not uncommon for physicians to receive a call in the middle of the night if a nurse sees something concerning on the monitor screen,” says Willard. “Instead of being faxed to the physician, the image can now be sent straight to our phones in real time for immediate examination.”

Are you proactive about your heart health? Find out about your risk for developing heart disease and your heart’s age with our free online tool at TexasHealth.org/Heart.

Fall/Winter 2011

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