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Medical Moment: New STEMI treatment could help heart attack patients

Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 8:02 PM EST
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Every year, three million people have what’s known as STEMI, or ST Elevated Myocardial Infarction, where one of the main arteries to the heart is 100-percent blocked.

“The heart muscle is dying, and it’s important that patients get emergency care to open up the artery as soon as possible,” says Dr. Umesh Khot from the Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Khot and his colleagues studied patient outcomes using their protocol for treating STEMI, which included a safe handoff checklist, immediate transfer to a cardiac cath lab, and using an artery in the wrist instead of the groin for safer access to the blockage. The researchers say they wanted to determine the impact the protocol had on patients from lower socioeconomic neighborhoods.

“We know that those patients tend to be higher risk and have a higher risk of dying from this heart attack,” Khot says.

The researchers found the STEMI protocol greatly improved the chances of in-hospital survival for all patients.

“We saw a significant improvement in how they received medications and how fast they were treated,” Khot says. “And ultimately, that led to a 60 percent reduction in their chances of dying.”

Improving heart attack survival overall, regardless of a patient’s zip code.

The study was published late last year in the Journal of the American Heart Association, and a number of hospitals nationwide are now studying the plan to see if they can replicate it.

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