Verizon Grants Help Speed Heart Attack Treatment

Dec 21, 2010, 12:45 ET from Foundation of UMDNJ

STAT-MI Uses Smart Phones to Transmit ECGs from Ambulance to Cath Lab

NEWARK, N.J., Dec. 21, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Heart attack patients can receive life-saving treatments more quickly thanks to $100,000 in grants from the Verizon Foundation to the Foundation of UMDNJ for a program that enables heart attack patients to bypass the emergency room and go directly to the cardiac catheterization laboratory at UMDNJ-The University Hospital.

The Verizon grants support STAT-MI, an innovative program using wireless technologies and software, linked to a network, to transmit high-resolution electrocardiograms (ECGs) from the ambulance directly to a cardiologist at UMDNJ-The University Hospital.  

The hospital-based physician is able to view ECG readings on his or her smart phone within 90 seconds of transmission by the EMT.  If the cardiologist verifies that the patient is having a heart attack, the patient is brought directly to the cardiac catheterization laboratory.

A recent grant of $20,000 brings Verizon's funding of the program to $100,000.  

"The STAT-MI program has already been demonstrated to improve patient outcomes," said Marc Klapholz, MD, professor of medicine and director of cardiology, UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School and director of cardiology, UMDNJ-The University Hospital.  "Funding from the Verizon Foundation enables us to extend our ability to use these life-saving technologies."  

While STAT-MI has only been in existence for a short time, its life-saving potential has already been shown to decrease patients' time to treatment by as much as 131 minutes.  Patients treated through the service have smaller heart attacks, shorter hospital stays and lower death rates.

Twelve ambulances from The University Hospital Emergency Medical Service are outfitted with STAT-MI technology.

"As a leading broadband company, Verizon knows that technology can make a tremendous difference in the communities where we work and live," said Douglas W. Schoenberger, vice president of corporate responsibility for Verizon New Jersey. "This multi-year partnership with the Foundation of UMDNJ has been a worthwhile investment for the Verizon Foundation because it clearly demonstrates how a technology-based application can create tremendous, live-saving benefits for patients experiencing potential heart attacks."

The STAT-MI program, which also received seed funding from the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey, has already received national recognition, including a place on TIME magazine's list of top medical innovations.

According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, approximately 1.1 million heart attacks occur in the U.S. each year, 460,000 of which are fatal. About half of these deaths occur within one hour of the start of symptoms.  Heart muscle starts to die as soon as a heart attack starts, and the longer that treatment is delayed the more muscle dies.

"Every minute counts when someone is having a heart attack," said Dr. Klapholz.  "By supporting STAT-MI, the Verizon Foundation is helping us deliver life-saving care when time is of the essence."

The Foundation of UMDNJ is an independent, not-for-profit organization that connects individuals, corporations and foundations that want to advance healthcare with those at UMDNJ who are pursuing those same passions. For more information, visit www.foundationofumdnj.org.

SOURCE Foundation of UMDNJ



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