A Milestone for Healthier Hearts in the Upper Midwest
Since 2010, cardiac care has been a significant focus area of the Rural Healthcare Program, which works to improve access to quality healthcare in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.
The Program has just reached an exciting milestone – ambulances and hospitals in all seven states across the upper Midwest region now have two of the most innovative tools available to respond to cardiac emergencies and save lives.
Each year, Americans experience an average of 935,000 heart attacks and 383,000 people suffer from cardiac arrest. Unfortunately, inadequate technology and training are major barriers to saving patients’ lives – especially in rural areas where geographic isolation creates pronounced gaps in healthcare access.
To improve health outcomes for cardiac patients, the Trust has committed over $67 million to two initiatives to expand access to lifesaving care for rural Americans.
The first, Mission: Lifeline, is a project of the American Heart Association that is improving emergency readiness and response to heart attack patients. The Trust has provided support for this initiative to equip every ambulance service in its seven-state funding area with electrocardiogram (ECG) equipment and training. This enables emergency medical responders to transmit ECG readings immediately to hospitals in order determine the next course of action and ensure the appropriate medical care is available.
This technology has had an enormous impact in rural states like South Dakota, where – in less than two years – hospitals saw a 35 percent increase in the number of lives saved.
The second initiative outfits ambulances and hospitals across the upper Midwest with fully automated LUCAS 2 chest compression systems. Automatic CPR devices can be crucial lifesavers in rural areas where there are fewer trained paramedics and longer ambulance rides to hospitals. Not only do the portable LUCAS 2 devices provide more effective, consistent and uninterrupted chest compressions, but they also deliver hands-free care, which means medical personnel are free to address other injuries and conditions of the patient.
Now serving more than 13 million people across the region, automated CPR devices are making a difference in the lives of rural residents who suffer sudden cardiac arrest. Support from the Trust has helped to make the upper Midwest the most expansive use of this innovative technology.
Working together with state governments, volunteers, nonprofits and technological innovators, the Trust is proud to support these integrated systems of care for people facing life-threatening heart emergencies in one of the most medically underserved region of the U.S.
In this video produced by the University of North Dakota, emergency responders in Nebraska discuss their experiences and the benefits of working with the LUCAS 2.