Scottish paramedics save lives through cardiac pilot study

A world leading trial being undertaken by paramedics in the Borders, Scotland, where cardiac patients are receiving blood analysis en route to hospital, is thought to speed up diagnosis and save lives.

The result of a unique partnership between the Scottish Ambulance Service, the Scottish Centre for Telehealth and Telecare (SCTT), NHS Borders and Samsung, the test provides vital results in the ambulance, which are then sent ahead to the receiving cardiology team.

By allowing earlier availability of information, ambulance crews are able to deliver the most clinically effective care en route and provide vital information to cardiologists quicker.

The procedure involves the use of a mobile unit provided by Samsung, to take a blood sample and run a test for troponin.

The pilot was first started in November 2012 and has so far included more than 100 patients with cardiac chest pain.

Ten ambulances were equipped with the Samsung B10 analysers and 57 paramedics in the region were given training to use the machines.

Professor George Crooks, medical director at the Scottish Ambulance Service and NHS 24’s Scottish Health and Telecare, said:

‘This is a unique collaboration that has resulted in technology, which was previously only available in the hospital setting, being moved closer to the patient with significant benefit to quality of care and clinical outcomes.’

Professor Crooks added: ‘Whilst currently in the evaluation stage, the initial results are very encouraging and demonstrate that such tests can be successfully undertaken by paramedics in ambulances. We are looking at how this can be rolled out across Scotland.

‘The rapid onset of developments in mobile technology opens up incredible opportunities for the NHS in Scotland to find innovative ways of delivering care that will improve the patient experience and ultimately save lives.’

Taken from Journal of Paramedic Practice, published 25 June 2013.

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