New Heart Machines Could Save More Lives in Rural Areas

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Since 2011 one heart machine has been transmitting patient’s heart rhythms straight from the ambulance to the hospital, and now rural areas will be getting this technology as well.

In January, the Great Plans Regional Medical Center saw more than 40 heart attacks, and when one strikes first responders and doctors need to act fast.

"A heart attack is a blocked artery depleting the blood supply to the muscle, and they put a balloon across that and open that up. The key is time to the heart attack and the time to that balloon really is what is paramount," said Dr. James Smith.

This heart machine helps get patients status to the hospital well before they arrive so doctors are prepared to operate.

"They don’t even get off the cot, they roll straight through to the lab and put them on the lab table and get in there and fix the heart attack,” said Smith.

This technology will also be available for rural areas and volunteer fire departments like Maxwell, Curtis, Maywood, and Thedford.

"If they know that the patient is having a heart attack they can call us before they ever leave the scene, we can meet that patient a lot sooner and give them medication that help reduce the pain," said Assistant Fire Chief, Trent Kleinow.

Kleinow says the North Platte Fire Department will help train those stations with the new machines this month. Machines are provided by the state.