World Leading Cardiac Pilot will Save Lives

 Wednesday 12 June 2013

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 initiative is a the result of a unique partnership between the Scottish Ambulance Service, the Scottish Centre for Telehealth and Telecare (SCTT), NHS Borders and Samsung.

Paramedics use a mobile unit provided by Samsung to take a blood sample from cardiac patients and run a test for troponin in the ambulance while 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 test, which normally has to be undertaken in hospital, provides vital results in the ambulance which are sent ahead to the receiving cardiology team.  The early availability of this information enables ambulance crews to deliver the most clinically effective care en route and provides vital information to cardiologists quicker.

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."