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Aspirus St. Luke's Joins State Heart Attack Rural Initiative

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Portrait of Mary BoylanAspirus St. Luke's has backed a state-wide initiative to help improve heart attack treatment for patients in rural areas.

The American's Heart Association's (AHA) Mission: Lifeline - Rural Minnesota Initiative tackles the issue of identifying rural patients suffering from a STEMI, the deadliest type of heart attack in which blood flow is completely blocked in an artery, by expanding the use of 12-lead ECG machines among the emergency medical services.

Aspirus St. Luke's and Aspirus St. Luke's Foundation are pleased to announce they have donated $2,500 to help the AHA extend the Mission: Lifeline program across rural Minnesota.

"This early recognition of a life-threatening problem will allow for rapid transport of the patient directly to Aspirus St. Luke's or other hospitals that can provide life-saving procedures such as stenting or even bypass surgery," said Dr. Mary Boylan, Aspirus St. Luke's cardiothoracic surgeon. "I know that my patients' lives will be improved because of Mission: Lifeline and I am glad that we at Aspirus St. Luke's have been among the first to support this lifesaving step."

A STEMI patient has a window of just 90-120 minutes to receive treatment or the person is likely to have significant heart damage, go into full cardiac arrest, or die. Rural areas face the greatest challenges in terms of being able to meet these treatment windows, due to the large geographical areas covered and lack of access to the 12-lead ECG equipment.

Placement of the 12-lead ECG machines in ambulances means medical personnel can detect a STEMI in the field and ensure the patient is transported immediately to the hospital best placed to provide the appropriate treatment.

The AHA has received gifts totaling more than $6.5 million for the Rural Minnesota Initiative, with the lead program funder being the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, which has pledged $4.6 million.