Monday, 15 July 2013

World Leading Cardiac Pilot will Save Lives

Paramedics in Scotland are undertaking blood analysis of cardiac patients in a world leading trial in the Borders that will produce vital test data in minutes, speeding up diagnosis and saving lives.

The Scottish Ambulance Service, the Scottish Centre for Telehealth and Telecare (SCTT), NHS Borders and Samsung are working in partnership to trial the initiative which can identify the appropriate course of treatment before the patient arrives at hospital.

Paramedics will be able to take a blood sample from patients and run a test for troponin in the ambulance whilst en route to hospital. Troponin is a cardiac marker found in the blood following damage to the heart muscle caused by a heart attack.  The test differentiates between a heart attack and angina.

The early availability of this information enables ambulance crews to deliver the most clinically effective care en route and provides vital information to the cardiologist team about to receive the patient.

Professor George Crooks, Medical Director at the Scottish Ambulance Service and NHS 24’s Scottish Centre for Telehealth 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.

“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 more lives”

Health Secretary, Alex Neil, said:

“I want NHS Scotland to be at the forefront of new and innovative technologies such as this.  Allowing clinicians to identify an appropriate course of treatment before the patient even arrives at hospital can be crucial.  This is an excellent example of partnership working that is set to help even more patients and save lives.”


The pilot started in the Borders in November 2012 and has so far included over 100 patients presenting with cardiac chest pain.  Ten emergency ambulances were equipped with the Samsung B10 analysers and 57 paramedics in the region were given special training to use the machines. Paramedics have worked closely with clinicians at NHS Borders and SCTT."

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