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Fire Department

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12 Lead Electrocardiogram

The Torrance Fire Department and Little Company of Mary conducted a pilot study of the use of twelve-lead electrocardiogram telemetry in the field by paramedics. Twelve-lead technology sends a "more complete" picture of the heart's activity to the hospital base station for evaluation, than the usual three-lead EKGs. The pilot program demonstrated the viability of "in the field" twelve-lead technology to aid in the early identification of a cardiac patient's suitability for special thrombolytic drug therapy upon arrival at the emergency room. Early identification of an acute myocardial infarction allows the emergency room to prepare this "clot dissolving" medication while the patient is being transported to the hospital. When administered early, the blood flow to the heart may be restored quickly resulting in no destruction of the cardiac tissue.

Based on the success of the pilot study and the benefit to the citizens of Torrance, full implementation of 12 lead EKG capability and training for Torrance Fire Department paramedics and Little Company of Mary Hospital Emergency Room personnel was accomplished in 1997.



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