Dr. Barry C. Tedder, Jonesboro cardiologist with Cardiology Associates, will lead a program on Saturday, July 7, for emergency medical technicians and paramedics that will help them determine whether patients they see as first responders have had a particular kind of heart attack that requires immediate intervention to open blocked veins.
The program will help emergency medical technicians and paramedics recognize ST elevation myocardial infarctions (STEMIs). Those are heart attacks that can be identified by a specific ST elevation pattern on a 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG).
They are caused by a blocked vessel, and it is imperative to re-establish blood flow to the heart within a narrow window of time to preserve as much heart muscle as possible. About four years ago St. Bernards developed a protocol to get patients with ST elevation heart attacks into the cardiac catheterization laboratory and get the blocked vessel open within 90 minutes of the time the patient presented to the emergency department.
The St. Bernards program, referred to as Code STEMI, was so successful that St. Bernards personnel have been working other area hospitals and first responders to establish a regional network to identify STEMI patients and speed the response time for those people, getting them into the cath lab and opening the vessel and re-establishing blood flow within a 90-minute door-to-vessel time – something that falls in line with a national standard endorsed by the American College of Cardiologists and the American Heart Association.
The class will be a hands-on opportunity for EMTs and paramedics to learn to recognize STEMI patients, to understand the barriers that that prevent patients from getting to “open vessel” during the 90-minute window and to understand the ST segment and the significance of ST elevation in a heart attack as well as how to interpret ST elevation in ECGs.
Through the Regional Code STEMI program personnel at area hospitals and first responders are being trained to recognize STEMIs and to expedite care needed to save heart muscle – and thus, improve outcomes for patients. Already a number of patients – from as far away as Piggott, Pocahontas and Wynne – have benefitted from the regionalized approach.
Tedder has served as the physician champion for the St. Bernards Code STEMI program. A graduate of the University of Mississippi Medical School, he served a residency at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He has been on the medical staff at St. Bernards for 20 years.
The class, which is being offered at no charge, will carry continuing education unit credits for participants. It is drawing participants from Mississippi, Greene, Craighead and Lawrence counties. EMS systems that will be represented cover Clay, Craighead, Cross, Greene, Lawrence, Poinsett and Randolph counties.
Also speaking at the two-hour class will be Pam Jeter, RN who serves as STEMI coordinator at St. Bernards.
St. Bernards is a 438-bed acute care hospital that has served as the trusted provider of comprehensive healthcare services for residents of Northeast Arkansas and Southeast Missouri for more than a century.