ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota heart specialists on Thursday touted $6.5 million in charitable gifts that they say will save lives by improving the emergency medical response to acute heart attacks in rural areas.
The American Heart Association announced that it had amassed funding for its "Mission: Lifeline Minnesota" program. It is designed to more quickly diagnose heart attacks caused by total artery blockage, a type of cardiac arrest that is often deadly without swift treatment. The money will help equip rural hospitals and emergency responders with mobile equipment and training as well as assist them in collaborating with bigger trauma hospitals.
"When we save heart muscles, we save lives, we save families," said Dr. Mary Boylan, a cardiothoracic surgeon at St. Luke's Hospital in Duluth.
Heart attacks are the second-leading cause of death in Minnesota. The initiative is meant to fine-tune care of what are known as ST-elevated myocardial infarction episodes, or STEMI.
Richard Mullvain, the STEMI program director at Duluth's Essentia Health and Vascular Center, said the mobile electrocardiogram heart machines that will be purchased for rural responders can help them diagnose heart attacks with blocked arteries while out on calls. That will alert key personnel to be better positioned respond once the patient arrives at a hospital.
The three-year program will be fueled by several charitable donations. The largest of which is coming from the Helmsley Charitable Trust, which gave $4.6 million.