EMTs use EKGs sized down for portability - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

EMTs use EKGs sized down for portability

Lawton_Ambulance workers have a new tool to help save lives.  The machine helps detect heart problems - even heart attacks - so that they can begin treatment before the patient even arrives at the hospital.  It's a 12-Lead Electrocardiogram (EKG).  EKGs have been used for years in hospitals to monitor heart activity.  But, what once only came in large sizes - now comes in a smaller size, too.

The EKG is about the size of a duffel bag, and light enough for a paramedic to carry it with one hand.  "This is by far the greatest advancement in pre-hospital care in 20 years," said Comanche County Memorial Hospital (CCMH) Ambulance Manager Kenneth Pack.  "Now a doctor can actually diagnose a patient that's having a heart attack without actually, physically, seeing or touching the patient."

Ambulances have been equipped with heart monitors for years, to monitor patients' pulse, heart rate, and blood pressure.  "Before we had life packs, that didn't have the 12-lead, they were just able to get one picture of the heart," said CCMH Paramedic Brad Mertens.  "Then from there, we could kind of guesstimate if they were having a heart attack."

But, heart problems aren't something anyone should have to guess about.  The portable EKG has 12-leads.  The leads are sensors that adhere to a patient's chest, abdomen, upper arms, and back.  The sensors monitor different parts of the chest and send electrical signals to the monitor.  "Based on how those waves come out on the monitor, it tells if the heart is ascemic, lacking of oxygen, or having an infarction, to let you know that part of the heart is dying," Mertens said.

Paramedics then use their cell phones to immediately send a fax of the machine's report to the hospital, where a physician can review it while the ambulance is en route.  CCMH paramedics have had the machines less than three months, but they say the machines are already paying off.  "The ER doctor had the EKG in his hands before we had the lady in the ambulance," said CCMH Paramedic Anthony Neal.  "He was able to activate the cath (catheterization) lab, have them called in, and they were already in and set up [when we arrived].  So the lady went straight through the ER and went straight into the cath lab." 

Now, medics realize how long the process would have taken had they not had the portable EKG.  They saved two hours - critical time when someone's life is on the line.

  • Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • breaking

    Homeland Security drafts plan to end family separation

    Homeland Security drafts plan to end family separation

    Wednesday, June 20 2018 11:21 AM EDT2018-06-20 15:21:21 GMT
    Wednesday, June 20 2018 11:24 AM EDT2018-06-20 15:24:50 GMT
    That's according to two people familiar with her thinking who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the effort before its official announcement. (Source: Raycom Media)That's according to two people familiar with her thinking who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the effort before its official announcement. (Source: Raycom Media)

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is drafting an executive action for President Donald Trump that would direct DHS to keep families apprehended at the border together during detention and ask the...

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is drafting an executive action for President Donald Trump that would direct DHS to keep families apprehended at the border together during detention and ask the Department of Defense to help house them.

  • Trump stands firm on immigration policy, sees it as a winner

    Trump stands firm on immigration policy, sees it as a winner

    Wednesday, June 20 2018 1:21 AM EDT2018-06-20 05:21:15 GMT
    Wednesday, June 20 2018 11:15 AM EDT2018-06-20 15:15:05 GMT
    (AP Photo/Alex Brandon). President Donald Trump speaks in the Hall of Columns as he arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 19, 2018, to rally Republicans around a GOP immigration bill.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon). President Donald Trump speaks in the Hall of Columns as he arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 19, 2018, to rally Republicans around a GOP immigration bill.

    Trump sees his immigration policy as a winner with voters ahead of midterm elections in spite of controversy over separating children and parents.

    Trump sees his immigration policy as a winner with voters ahead of midterm elections in spite of controversy over separating children and parents.

  • APNewsBreak: Youngest migrants held in 'tender age' shelters

    APNewsBreak: Youngest migrants held in 'tender age' shelters

    Tuesday, June 19 2018 9:12 PM EDT2018-06-20 01:12:25 GMT
    Wednesday, June 20 2018 11:13 AM EDT2018-06-20 15:13:17 GMT
    Nicole Hernandez, of the Mexican state of Guerrero, holds on to her mother as they wait with other families to request political asylum in the United States, across the border in Tijuana, Mexico, on Wednesday, June 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)Nicole Hernandez, of the Mexican state of Guerrero, holds on to her mother as they wait with other families to request political asylum in the United States, across the border in Tijuana, Mexico, on Wednesday, June 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

    Migrant babies and young children are being held in special "tender age" shelters after being taken from their parents at the US-Mexico border.

    Migrant babies and young children are being held in special "tender age" shelters after being taken from their parents at the US-Mexico border.

Powered by Frankly