Mile-High Medicine

April 2004

If you’ve ever had a heart attack or known someone who has, you know the importance of time. The quicker a person receives care the better. Shockingly, it takes 122 minutes (the national average) from when a patient arrives at the hospital to when he or she receives angioplasty (the procedure where a small balloon is inserted into an artery to increase blood flow to the heart muscle tissue). However, if you live in Aurora, you’re likely to get that procedure about 42 minutes faster than patients in the rest of the country.

Cardiac Alert Aurora Model is the new standard of care for heart attack patients, and it’s not some newfangled machine, it’s a plan of action. Cardiac Alert Aurora Model is a process that The Medical Center of Aurora (TMCA), Rural/Metro Ambulance, the Aurora Fire Department, and the Colorado Heart Institute created to get heart attack patients better care more quickly. This team of health care providers has implemented changes to the traditional set of emergency procedures. Changes such as training paramedics on EKG machines, alerting the hospital with patient information en route, streamlining necessary medical supplies into “cardiac attack packs,” and paging cardiologists at an earlier stage are revolutionary in the emergency medical system. While this may seem elementary, most hospitals around the country have no similar system in place.