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NorthSide Reaction

Lincolnwood ambulances now equipped with latest heart testing technology

In recent weeks community groups, backed by the American Heart Association, have called on the City of Chicago and surrounding towns to acquire and/or update life-saving heart testing equipment in ambulances, as they have been in most of the nation’s largest cities. 

The Village of Lincolnwood has listened to their requests and will begin using new digital electrocardiogram (EKG) devices in fire department ambulances in December.

This technology allows paramedics to immediately perform an EKG in the ambulance and transmit important medical information — including blood pressure, carbon dioxide levels and charts indicating if the patient is having a heart attack and the blockage site — from the moving vehicle directly to the phones, e-mail accounts and fax machines of area Emergency Departments, cardiologists and physicians.

In the past, EKG transmissions from ambulances have been slow and often unclear due to the motion of the vehicle. But with the new technology, patients having a heart attack can get the test in the ambulance, have their results sent directly to the hospital, potentially bypass processing in the Emergency Department and go straight to the Cardiac Cath Lab where they can be treated. 

The time saved using these EKG devices “could mean a heart patient's life,” explains Pat Krochmal, a reporter for the Lincolnwood Review, a local Pioneer Press newspaper. She reports that the EKG devices were installed in the ambulances thanks to a $54,000 donation from Swedish Covenant Hospital.

As was explained at the Nov. 18 Lincolnwood Board Meeting where the donation was made, it is the hospital’s hope that through these devices, they can expand the reach of their accredited Chest Pain Center and provide the highest quality care for Lincolnwood residents.

Read the full Lincolnwood Review report here, “Fire department gets EKG unit gifts,” and then please join the discussion below.