MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) - When it comes to a heart attack, there's only one way to increase your chances of surviving - getting the care you need as fast as possible.
Mercy Health Hospital in Muskegon is cutting response times by nearly in half using new technology called LifeNet.
Now Emergency Department physicians like Dr. Frank Duncan can send a heart attack patient's EKG directly to a cardiologist's smart phone and immediately get a diagnosis. "We determine this patient needs to go to the catherization lab, then we can push a button here and we can send it to the cardiologist."
Dr. Daniel West with West Shore Cardiology is impressed, not only with the quality, but with how fast LifeNet notifies him of a potential heart attack patient.
"I can see the full EKG when I scrunch it down and when I broaden it, I can look at each individual complex on the EKG to determine whether I think it's really a heart attack," says West. "It's one of the major advances that I've seen since I've been in cardiology at reducing the risk of reducing the complications of heart attacks."
Complications like damaged heart muscle can affect a patient's outcome for the rest of their life, because Dr. West says when you're having a heart attack minutes matter.
"A heart attack is really death of heart muscle. If you interrupt blood flow for longer than 30 minutes, you're going to get some damage."