sioux falls, SD
A South Dakota mission aimed at lowering the death rate of heart attack patients is gaining national attention.
The American Heart Association's Mission: Lifeline project in South Dakota will be one of only three programs featured on a new Web TV Series.
At the Avera McKennan emergency room, doctors in Sioux Falls can talk with first responders in small towns, like Rock Valley, Iowa. That can be very helpful when someone suffers a heart attack.
"Heart attack care in the U.S. is one of the major issues of our time if you are a paramedic," paramedic and television show host Tom Bouthillet said.
Bouthillet is the host of the First Responders Network's new Web TV Series "Code STEMI." The series will feature three programs across the nation. One of them is South Dakota's American Heart Association's Mission: Lifeline project.
"For the Code STEMI web TV series, we wanted to show a rural area that's doing it correctly. Some of the most exciting advances in the treatment of heart attacks right now happening in the U.S. are happening right here in South Dakota," Bouthillet said.
In rural areas of South Dakota it can be difficult to get to an emergency room fast after suffering a heart attack. That's where the Mission: Lifeline project comes into play.
"It allowed us to partner with first responders throughout the state of South Dakota to purchase 12-lead ECG systems for those first responder units. What that means that if you're a heart attack victim and you're 200 or 300 miles from the nearest hospital, you still will have access to high-quality cardiac care," Chrissy Spoo with the American Heart Association said.
Because, as a paramedic himself, Bouthillet knows every second counts when suffering a serious heart attack.
"When you're having an acute heart attack and the blood supply to your heart is deprived to where your heart is being deprived of oxygen, it's a severe, life-threatening emergency," Bouthillet said.
The Mission: Lifeline project started in South Dakota last year, thanks to a more than $8 million, three-year grant.