EKGs for Dickenson CountyThree Dickenson County Emergency Medical Services Agencies Receive EKG Machines From Heart Institute

Patients who might be suffering a heart attack in Dickenson County will benefit from a coordinated system of care enhanced by additional lifesaving equipment.

At a ceremony on Wednesday, Jan. 23, the Wellmont CVA Heart Institute placed seven electrocardiogram machines with Dickenson County Ambulance Service, Clintwood Volunteer Rescue Squad and Haysi Rescue Squad. The event was held at Mountain View Regional Medical Center.

"These 12-lead monitors will play a critical role in delivering high-quality care by emergency medical professionals who treat patients in the field and by physicians at the hospital," said Dr. Herb Ladley, a board-certified cardiologist with the heart institute and medical director of its Level One Heart Attack Network.

"Caregivers have an increased chance for a successful outcome with a patient when they have high-quality equipment at their disposal. We're pleased these agencies will have the opportunity to utilize these EKGs and enhance the quality of life in Southwest Virginia."

Recently, Wellmont Foundation received a $200,000 grant from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission for 19 new EKG machines and upgrades to two others. The foundation is contributing another $200,000 to match this grant.

Last week, the heart institute placed a total of eight new EKG machines, as well as equipment to upgrade two others, with four agencies in Wise County - Appalachia Rescue Squad, Big Stone Gap Rescue Squad, Friendship Ambulance Service and Lifecare Ambulance Service. Within the next month, agencies in Lee and Russell counties will receive EKG machines as part of the same grant.

The machines are essential components of the Level One Heart Attack Network because they enable emergency medical professionals to perform an EKG and transmit the test to a local emergency department, where a physician reads it to determine whether the patient is having a heart attack.

If the patient is suffering a heart attack and is coming to a Wellmont Health System hospital, this process enables the cardiac catheterization lab to mobilize and be ready as soon as the patient arrives. If necessary, a patient can first come to a community hospital such as Mountain View Regional for stabilization.

The national standard is to have blood flowing again in a clogged artery within 90 minutes of the patient reaching the hospital, but Wellmont hospitals have accomplished this in less than 15 minutes.

"With these EKG machines in the hands of Dickenson County caregivers, residents in that community have increased comfort knowing their welfare is paramount," said Greg Neal, president of Wellmont's community hospital division, which includes Mountain View Regional.

"It is extremely important to act quickly when someone is having a heart attack, from the patient calling 911 to the caregivers responding quickly with appropriate care. These EKG machines will make a tremendous difference and give emergency medical professionals and hospitals an even greater opportunity to save lives."

Before receiving the tobacco grant, Wellmont placed 45 EKG machines throughout the region and enhanced some already in operation for a total investment of $944,000. Several emergency medical services agencies received this equipment.