Itll never be a slogan for the state tourism department, but North Carolina is getting to be a pretty good place to have a heart attack. Thats due in large part to cardiologists at Duke University Medical Center, who have helped change how hospitals and emergency responders throughout the state care for heart attack victims.
The big change? More speed. The sooner you are treated, the more chance you have to survive and do better, says Dr. James Jollis. He and his colleagues have managed to shave minutes off the time between the initial notification of a possible heart attack and surgical intervention, if needed. Their project coordinated 911 call centers, ambulance personnel, hospitals (119 of them) and emergency rooms. They succeeded in raising the percentage of patients treated within 90 minutes, a crucial factor in survival.
The results, documented in lives saved, more than justify the effort, and Duke is working to expand this now-proven program to other states. By reaching out, statewide, the medical center in Durham has done exceptionally valuable work.