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New Treatment for Heart Attack Victims

15 October 2007

15 October 2007

Patients in Calderdale and Huddersfield who suffer a heart attack are to be given a faster, new treatment.

At the moment when a patient suffers a particular type of heart attack, known as a STEMI (ST elevation myocardial infarction), they can be given a clot-busting drug but some can then later on need a surgical procedure.

Now, if the ambulance crew suspect a patient has had a STEMI, they will be taken directly to the specialist treatment centre at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) where they will be given the surgical procedure - a primary angioplasty.

It's already available to patients in Leeds, Bradford and Mid-Yorkshire areas but is now being extended to patients from the Calderdale and Huddersfield area.

Dr Alison Walker - medical director for Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) said: "If a paramedic identifies a patient as having had a STEMI, the sooner the primary angioplasty surgery is carried out, the less damage there is likely to be to the heart and the quicker the patient is likely to recover.

"YAS is pleased to be involved in this service and there has been excellent co-operation between the ambulance service and Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust in providing this service 24 hours a day."

Dr Simon Grant, consultant cardiologist at the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, and who will be contributing to the on call rota at the Leeds General Infirmary providing the service, said:

"Once this type of heart attack is recognised, the patient will be taken directly to Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) for treatment. After 24 hours in Leeds, patients will then return to their local hospital for ongoing care from the Calderdale and Huddersfield cardiology teams.

"Not only does this new treatment offer the best opportunity for a speedy recovery and reduced chance of dying but, as many patients receiving clot busting drugs would have gone on to have an angioplasty later, it means that they have this at the time when they most need it."

Chris Croden - YAS paramedic on secondment to West Yorkshire Cardiac Network - said: "Patients and relatives have an important part to play in this process by recognising when they or other relatives may be having chest pain which may be as a result of a heart attack. They should act quickly and phone 999 for an ambulance. The signs are usually crushing chest pain, which may radiate into the jaw, arms or neck. Often the patient may feel nauseous, begin sweating and have shortness of breath. If this happens it is vital to get help immediately."

Dr Jim McLenachan, clinical director for cardiology at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "We are delighted that the primary angioplasty service based in Leeds is being rolled out to include patients from the Huddersfield and Calderdale areas. This new treatment means that the blockage in the heart artery is relieved immediately and a metal stent is inserted to prevent the artery re-blocking. The procedure is carried out under local anaesthetic and takes about 40 minutes.

"Results in Leeds over the last two years have been excellent with most patients being discharged home only two days after their heart attack. The cooperation of YAS in diagnosing the heart attack and then transporting the patient quickly and safely for immediate treatment has been fantastic."

Notes to Editors:

  • This treatment will be used on around 240 patients a year in the Calderdale and Huddersfield area who have STEMI heart attacks
  • The Coronary Angioplasty involves threading a fine balloon into an artery in the groin and passing it into blocked or narrowed coronary arteries in the heart, where the balloon is inflated to unblock the artery. Often a thin tube called a stent is left in the unblocked artery to help prevent it from   re-blocking
  • This new system began on Monday 1 October 2007
  • This is one of only a few heart centres in the country that offers this treatment

For more information contact the Yorkshire Ambulance Service's press office on 0845 120 0048 or Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust's press office on 01484 355256 or 01484 355253

Produced By: Corporate Communications Department