1000th Patient Receives Clot-Busting Heart Attack Treatment, South East England

February 23, 2009 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

More than 1,000 heart-attack patients across Sussex, Surrey and Kent have been given a potentially life-saving, clot-busting treatment by South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Trust (SECAmb) paramedics.

The 1000th patient to receive the treatment was a 56-year old woman from Uckfield, East Sussex.

Paramedics have been trained to administer special drugs, (thrombolytic therapy), which dissolves clots in blood vessels and can reduce damage caused by heart attacks to the heart muscle. It is suitable for some but not all patients who suffer a heart attack.

Crowborough Paramedic Christopher Thorne thrombolysed the Uckfield patient, Alison Olivier, after responding to an emergency call with ambulance technician Richard Fletcher. Emergency Call Operator Hetty Closs, at SECAmb’s Sussex Emergency Dispatch Centre in Lewes, had received the call from Alison’s husband Roger reporting her chest pain.

After receiving the treatment, Alison was taken to Princess Royal University Hospital in Haywards Heath. She went on to make a full recovery and was discharged home just five days later.

This was the second time Christopher, who is currently training as a Paramedic Practitioner, had delivered the treatment. He said: “I am delighted that SECAmb has been able to treat so many people with thrombolytic drugs. Being able to treat cardiac patients in this way, before they arrive at hospital, is hugely beneficial to their recovery. Being the person who happened to give the 1000th treatment is just luck. It’s the patients who are the winners with this life-saving intervention.”

Alison said: “I’m so thankful for all the treatment I received. I was very scared at the time but remember the ambulance crews were so reassuring and compassionate to both myself and my husband. They were very efficient but at the same time comforting, telling me not to worry. I feel fine now and haven’t required any further hospital treatment. I’d like to thank everyone who was involved in caring for me right from the moment my husband dialled 999. It’s fantastic that so many heart-attack patients have been able to receive this life-saving treatment.”

SECAmb’s Consultant Paramedic and Clinical Director, Andy Newton, said: “It’s great that we have been able to successfully treat so many heart-attack patients with this treatment. Our staff should feel very proud of what they have achieved. Thrombolysis plays a vital part in improving patient outcomes and every single patient our crews have successfully delivered thrombolytic treatment to is a living example of the benefits of the treatment.”

During February, which is National Heart Month, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) is calling on people to pay more attention to their hearts. The charity has launched its Red for Heart campaign which people can support by organising ‘red-themed’ fundraising activities.

SECAmb is marking the month by reminding the public that early signs of a heart attack such as chest pain, pain in the arms, unexpected and unexplained shortness of breath or feeling sweaty should not ignored. Recognising the early symptoms and calling an ambulance can potentially save lives.

According to BHF estimates, more men (49,900) than women (39,700) die from heart attacks each year, but both sexes are urged to be vigilant.

Andy Newton added: “Heart disease is the leading cause of death in this country and we know that early treatment saves lives. The sooner heart attack patients receive the right treatment the better the outcome. It’s critical that if anyone suffers symptoms such as unexpected or unexplained shortness of breath, chest pain and sweating, that someone calls 999 immediately and asks for an ambulance as waiting could mean the difference between life and death.”

– Latest figures show that SECAmb paramedics diagnosed and gave life-saving clot-busting drugs to 72% of patients who suffered a heart attack in the community within 60 minutes of receiving a 999 call in 2007/08 – a 10 per cent rise on the previous year and above the national average increase of six per cent. (Figures from Myocardial Ischaemia National Audit Project (MINAP) report)

– South East Coast Ambulance Service was formed on 1 July 2006, following the merger of Kent, Surrey and Sussex ambulance trusts and is one of twelve ambulance services operating in England. It covers an area of 3,600 square miles and a resident population of 4.5 million across East and West Sussex, Brighton & Hove, Kent and Medway and Surrey. The trust responds to 999 calls from the public, immediate and urgent calls from health professionals, as well as providing non-emergency Patient Transport Services (pre-booked patient journeys to and from healthcare facilities) in some areas. It employs more than 3,000 staff across 60 sites, more than half of whom are paramedics and ambulance technicians.

South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Trust (England)

[Via http://www.medicalnewstoday.com]


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