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Prairie Heart Institute Implements Life-Saving Technology

Prairie Heart Institute at HSHS St. John's Hospital recently implemented the LIFENET System. In the event of a heart attack, this technology allows for critical information to be sent electronically from the patients through emergency responders who send it the hospital. This enables the hospital to be better prepared to take care of the exact heart issues patients are experiencing as soon as they arrive. 

LIFENET strives to reduce the amount of time it takes for patients who experience a dangerous form of heart attack known as STEMI (ST elevation myocardial infarction) to get the care they need by transmitting information from the ambulance directly to the hospital before the patient ever arrives. 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.  

“The LIFENET System allows paramedics in the field and St. John's ER physicians and Prairie cardiologists to focus on treatment decisions and patient care while the system works quietly and effortlessly in the background,” said Dr. Greg Mishkel, interventional cardiologist and executive medical director of the Prairie Heart Institute.  “From the onset of symptoms to treatment, time is the critical factor for improving survival and outcomes for these patients.  Having this new system will continue to help us beat the guideline of treatment in 90 minutes or less, as recommended by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.”   

The LIFENET System allows emergency responders to transmit a 12-lead electrocardiogram (EKG) and other emergency information from the ambulance directly to the emergency room at St. John's Hospital. This technology replaces the practice of faxing the EKG from the ambulance to the ER. This new LIFENET technology is much more efficient in sending the EKG electronically to the ER; it can even be set up to be transmitted directly to doctors’ cell phones. This means the teams in the emergency department and cardiac catheterization (cath) lab can prepare for the patient’s arrival while the patient is being transported by ambulance so door-to-balloon time is reduced and heart muscle can be saved. It also helps save time in the emergency room.   

Click here to watch a video on how this technology works with PHI and St. John’s. 

The system uses the latest digital technology, which is fast and reliable. Through a grant from the Prairie Heart Foundation, St. John's has deployed LIFENET adapters with America, Lifestar and Medics First ambulance services.      

“This is fantastic technology,” said Dr. Michelle S. Alepra, director of emergency medicine at HSHS St. John’s Hospital. “The critical aspect of this process is for patients to understand the importance of calling 911 if they experience any symptoms of a heart attack, no matter how mild or severe.  The ambulances now have the ability to transmit information that helps us prepare before the patient ever arrives, which saves time and lives.” The LIFENET System is helping HSHS St. John's Hospital elevate STEMI care to a whole new level with this new web-based solution that sets up a community-wide STEMI-alert systems. The goal is to give care providers technology that saves door-to-balloon time, and ultimately more lives.


About Prairie Heart Institute
The Prairie Heart Institute at HSHS St. John's Hospital in Springfield, Illinois offers a comprehensive, multidisciplinary program for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. With access to more cardiovascular experts than any other facility in downstate Illinois, their combined expertise provides state-of-the-art interventional and surgical capabilities in 24-hour cardiac catheterization labs and surgical suites. The Prairie Heart Institute champions an innovative approach to the treatment of cardiovascular disease utilizing minimally invasive technologies such as TAVR, MitraClip and minimally invasive cardiac surgery.  And while the Prairie Heart Institute clinical staff offers the latest advances in medicine, its physician-scientists are also actively enhancing knowledge of the heart and vascular disease through clinical investigation and research. For more information about the Prairie Heart Institute, visit https://www.st-johns.org.
About HSHS St. John's Hospital
HSHS St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, Illinois is a regional medical center offering a comprehensive array of health care services to central and southern Illinois. Founded in 1875, St. John’s is the flagship hospital of Hospital Sisters Health System, and is home to the Prairie Heart Institute, St. John’s Children’s Hospital, St. John’s Women’s Services, St. John’s Neurosciences Institute, St. John’s Cancer Institute, orthopedic services and AthletiCare. St. John’s now has one of the most advanced surgery centers in the nation and a renovated patient tower with all private rooms. St. John’s is designated as a level I trauma center, has its own college of nursing and is a teaching hospital for the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. For more information about St. John’s Hospital, visit www.st-johns.org

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