University of Chicago Medicine Breast Cancer June 2022

Heights Fire uses federal grant for life-saving cardiac monitors

fs 20931

by Kevin Olsen
staff reporter

The Palos Heights Fire Protection District has new equipment that will improve the chance of survival of people in cardiac arrest.

The district purchased four new cardiac monitors at the beginning of the month with funds from a federal grant. The total cost was $105,000; the grant money covered 95 percent of the cost, Deputy Fire Chief Tim Sarhage said.

The cardiac monitors allow emergency responders to perform 12-lead EKGs in the field, which will significantly decrease the time of sending a patient into surgery if they are in cardiac arrest, Sarhage said. The EKG sends a diagnostic with thorough patient information directly to the hospital emergency room, where it is printed out and analyzed. It will help cut the “door-to-balloon time,” into the cardiac catheter lab for an angioplasty and stent, Sarhage added.

“It’s a pretty big advancement,” Sarhage said. “It’s pretty neat that it’s so simple to do.”

The fire district actually performed a 12-lead EKG on the first day the monitors were in service. The 12 lead provides 12 cross sections of the heart to pinpoint the exact location of the problem, Sarhage said.

Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are trained to interpret the diagnostic and then begin to take action before arrival at the hospital. Sarhage said the new monitors provide “10 times as much information” as before.

The monitors are also equipped with technology that provides levels of carbon monoxide as well as blood pressure and blood-oxygen levels.

The grant also allows the district to have advanced life support (ALS) fire engines at both fire stations. Both ambulances will be equipped with the new monitors as well as a fire engine at each station. ALS engines have all the necessary paramedic equipment on board in case an ambulance is out in the field already.

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