STEMI - NEW INITIATIVE ENABLING QUICKER ACCESS TO LIFE SAVING TREATMENT
Every day in New Zealand, five people will suffer the most life-threatening form of heart attack (myocaridal infarction), and approximately 20% will die.
To minimise these statistics, TAS was proud to facilitate conversations between clinical leads on introducing a new out-of-hospital treatment pathway for cardiac patients in the Central Region.
Known as STEMI (ST elevation myocardial infarction), this new pathway enables paramedics to give a clot busting drug to patients in the community and then transport those patients directly to the most appropriate hospital.
The pathway was launched initially by DHBs in the Central Region and is a collaborative treatment method developed by St John, the Ministry of Health and the Cardiac Network. TAS managed the complexities of in-depth discussions between partners, enabling the pathway to move forward.
“The result is a crucial reduction in the time it takes to receive lifesaving treatment. A quicker journey to hospital means the loss of heart muscle is minimised, enabling patients to potentially go back to work two weeks later, rather than months after their heart attack,” says Jeanine Corke, TAS Planning and Improvement Manager.
Craig Johnston said the ability to have STEMI patients assessed in the community by St John paramedics will “decrease transfer waiting times to Wellington Hospital, preserve cardiac function and improve outcomes for patients across the region”.
Any initiative involving emergency healthcare relies on the expertise, composure and care of the paramedics, nurses and doctors delivering this lifesaving treatment around the clock. The impact on clinical teams is significant and Capital Coast DHB and St John’s role in providing this 24/7 service has been fundamental to its success.
Around 350 patients each year could benefit from the pathway, resulting in improved long term survival and the delivery of equitable healthcare to all New Zealanders, particularly those living in rural and remote areas.
“This is a crucial step in achieving regional equity which is one of the fundamental goals of the Cardiac Network and represents a lot of hard work from all involved. We still have more work to do. The current pathway only benefits those patients who call 111 and we will be looking to extend the pathway for those patients who attend emergency departments of non-PCI capable hospitals this year,” said Nick Fisher, Clinical Lead Central Cardiac Network and Head of Department Cardiology, Nelson Marlborough DHB.