Heart service set to save lives

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A SCHEME that sees paramedics take heart attack patients to specialist treatment centres could help to save over 1,000 lives a year in Lancashire and South Cumbria.

Paramedics are now able to take patients suffering from the most severe heart attacks to a specialist treatment centre at Blackpool Victoria Hospital in place of their local A&E, providing they meet agreed criteria.

On arrival at the cardiac centre patients undergo a procedure known as Primary Percutaneous Coronary Intervention [Primary PCI], also sometimes referred to as primary angioplasty.

The procedure uses a balloon to open up blocked arteries in patients suffering the most severe forms of heart attack, rather than clot-busting drugs, offering a better recovery rate and less chance of need for future surgery.

Deputy Director of Service Development, Paul Ferguson said: “Taking certain heart attack patients directly to specialist treatment centres saves vital time and means patients get the most appropriate treatment and care.

“Historical data suggests that paramedics will go to around 1,000 patients a year in that will be eligible for Primary PCI.

“As North West England is associated with one of the highest death rates from Coronary Heart Disease, we are extremely pleased to offer this service to patients that will, ultimately, save lives.”

Two additional ambulances are operating out of South and East Lancashire respectively in support of the scheme.