Minutes count when dealing with potentially deadly heart attacks
and heart disease. Patients at Texas Health Resources hospitals
can now benefit from new technology that helps speed up the
process of accurately diagnosing and treating heart attacks.
The new technology, called AirStrip CARDIOLOGY™, transmits EKGs
through a server-based platform that allows doctors to see more
data about a patient's heart function - in more detail than ever
before. This information is the most important data used by
doctors to determine whether a patient is having a heart attack,
called an acute myocardial infarction (AMI), and which part of
the heart is affected.
Texas Health hospitals are the first in North Texas to offer this
exciting new diagnostic technology. Fewer minutes spent in
diagnosis and treatment can allow quicker restoration of blood
flow and preservation of heart muscle. And that can promote
better outcomes, fewer long-term complications and more lives
The new AirStrip system advances today's EKG technologies far
beyond current systems, which are little more than PDF images of
2.5-second EKGs that have to be directly emailed to clinicians.
Some hospitals still rely on faxes of the EKGs from ambulances in
the field. Those printouts, sometimes blurry or distorted by the
printer, are hand-delivered to doctors.
But AirStrip's mobility platform allows clinicians to use their
iPads and smart phones to access EKGs stored in the hospital's
Cardiology Information System. AirStrip stores the EKGs so that
doctors can compare a patient's current medical condition to
previous heart events.
The power of the new mobility platform used at Texas Health
hospitals provides additional advances.
An EKG uses 12 leads to capture 10 seconds of heart function.
That's about 10 to 12 heartbeats for the average adult. But up to
now, technology has only allowed for one of the 12 leads to show
all 10 seconds; the other 11 show less than 2.5 seconds of heart
activity. Now, doctors can see the entire 10-second reading for
each lead. That's more than four times the amount of data that
traditional EKGs provide.
The AirStrip system is especially designed to quickly identify a
type of heart attack known as a STEMI (ST elevation myocardial
infarction). These heart attacks involve complete blockage of a
heart artery that rapidly leads to permanent heart damage or
In these situations, the best way to treat the heart attack is
with an interventional cardiac catheterization procedure that
involves inserting a small tube or catheter through an artery in
the arm or leg. A small wire is then guided to the site of the
blockage in the heart, where a tiny balloon can be used to open
the coronary artery, restoring blood flow. Usually, a small metal
mesh tube called a stent is inserted into the artery to help it
stay open. The procedure is called percutaneous coronary
intervention or angioplasty.
The amount of time that elapses from the moment of arrival to the
time the balloon is inflated to restore blood flow is called
door-to-balloon time. Current guidelines recommend this be less
than 90 minutes, but faster times mean less heart damage.