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Sequoia Hospital logo

Media Contact:                          FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Joanie Cavanaugh
Director of Marketing and Communications
(650) 482-6071


Savings Precious Minutes for Heart Attack Patients

REDWOOD CITY, CA – May 3, 2010 – Sequoia Hospital announced today the first implementation of the LIFENET System from Physio-Control in San Mateo County. A leader in cardiovascular care in Northern California, Sequoia’s Emergency Department and cardiologists give chest pain patients highest priority care as evidenced in a streamlined admission process that ensures immediate attention. Sequoia achieves the guideline of treatment in 90 minutes or less, as recommended by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, 100% of the time. Door-to-flow times are among the fastest in the state, on average 61 minutes, dramatically improving a patient’s chance of surviving a heart attack. The new LIFENET System may reduce the door-to-flow time by up to ten additional minutes by sending a digital transmission of the patient’s ECG directly from the field to the hospital, allowing the ER to prepare the necessary team in advance of the patient’s arrival.

“San Mateo County has the LIFENET System in place and Sequoia is very excited to be the first hospital in the county to “go live” with the new technology,” said John Meharg, MD, Medical Director of the Emergency Department. “Basically, the treatment of heart attack patients will begin even before the patient arrives, as we’ll be able to read a high quality digital ECG transmitted to us through the LIFENET System and begin preparing a treatment plan while the patient is in transit.”

“Each minute is precious in the treatment of a heart attack patient,” said Tom Hinohara, MD, cardiologist and Medical Director of the Cath Lab. “Studies show that time from onset of symptoms to treatment, usually stent placement or angioplasty, is critical to improving survival and outcomes for these patients. With the advance notice of a patient’s arrival, we can assemble the team and basically move the patient from the ambulance into the ER and directly into the Cath Lab, greatly reducing the door-to-flow time.”

The first web-based system of its kind, this new solution has the goal of reducing door-to-flow times for patients who experience a dangerous form of heart attack known as STEMI (ST elevation myocardial infarction). STEMI poses a serious threat to the heart muscle, and the quicker patients receive treatment the more likely they are to have a positive outcome.

About the LIFENET System
The LIFENET System goes beyond just transmitting a 12-lead ECG to the hospital. It helps manage care for STEMI patients by alerting care teams and transmitting diagnostic-quality ECGs via a secure web-based STEMI alert system to everyone involved in the patient’s care. The appropriate emergency department and/or cardiac catheterization (cath) lab can prepare for the patient’s arrival while the patient is being transported so door-to-flow time is reduced and heart muscle can be saved. It prevents wasted time in the emergency room before treatment and helps avoid false cath lab activations.

The LIFENET System allows paramedics in the field and physicians and nurses in the hospital to focus on treatment decisions and patient care while the System works quietly and effortlessly in the background, both in the field and in the hospital’s emergency department or cath lab. The System uses the latest digital technology, which is fast and reliable. This frees up the LIFEPAK 12 device for other uses such as monitoring and defibrillation, and enables paramedics and nurses to focus on the patient. Paramedics use the system with LIFEPAK® 12 defibrillator/monitors and gateway modems for transmission. Hospital personnel can use their existing computers and handheld devices by simply loading a software application.

The LIFENET System is helping communities elevate STEMI care to a whole new level with this new web-based solution that sets up community-wide STEMI-alert systems. The goal is to give care providers technology that saves door-to-flow time, and ultimately more lives.

More about STEMI
The American Heart Association estimates that nearly 400,000 people in the U.S. experience STEMI every year. Studies have reported a significant relationship between pre-hospital 12-lead ECGs and shorter door-to-flow times, with two recent studies showing the effect was strongest when the cath lab was activated while the patient was still en route to the hospital (Circulation, 2006). The Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2006) reported that mortality for acute cardiac events has been shown to increase 40 percent if door-to-flow time stretches from 90 minutes to 120 minutes. It is critical that STEMI patients are taken to facilities with the ability to perform angioplasty and insert stents. However, fewer than 25 percent of hospitals can provide this treatment (Circulation, 2007).

About Sequoia Hospital
Sequoia Hospital is an accredited, not-for-profit community hospital providing innovative and exceptional healthcare to Bay Area residents. With a nationwide reputation for pioneering advanced cardiac care, Sequoia’s Heart and Vascular Institute is designated as a 2009 Blue Distinction Center for Cardiac Care by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California. Sequoia also excels in the areas of stroke care, emergency services, and birth center services. Voted “A Family Favorite 2009 Best Hospital” by readers of Bay Area Parent magazine, Sequoia ranks in the top percentile of U.S. hospitals for patient satisfaction and is a leader in quality and safety initiatives. To learn more, please visit: www.SequoiaHospital.org

About Physio-Control
Physio-Control, maker of the LIFENET System and a division of Medtronic, is located in Redmond, Wash. Physio-Control pioneered defibrillation technology over 50 years ago. With more than 650,000 LIFEPAK defibrillator/monitors distributed worldwide, the company is the world’s leading provider of external defibrillator/monitors for the treatment of sudden cardiac and other cardio-respiratory emergencies. To find out more about Physio-Control, go to www.physio-control.com or call 1-800-442-1142.


Joanie Cavanaugh
Director of Marketing and Communications
Sequoia Hospital
170 Alameda de las Pulgas
Redwood City, CA 94062
(650) 482-6071


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