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Published on March 16, 2012

Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital Upgrades 12-Lead EKG Transmission System

New web-based system to help improve care for heart attack patients

Darby, Pa. (March 15, 2012): Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital recently went live with the LIFENET® EKG (Electrocardiogram) System to allow for pre-hospital recognition and management of heart attack patients. An upgrade from its previous system, this enables the hospital’s Emergency Department to receive 12-lead EKG transmissions from Mercy EMS units covering Briarcliffe, Colwyn, Darby Borough, Darby Township, Folcroft, Lansdowne, Sharon Hill and Yeadon.

Each year an estimated 785,000 Americans will experience a new heart attack and approximately 470,000 will have a recurrent attack according to the American Heart Association. A 12-lead EKG system helps identify patients suffering from a dangerous form of heart attack known as STEMI (ST elevation myocardial infarction), a condition where a blockage is preventing blood to circulate in one of the heart’s main arteries. The more quickly STEMI patients receive treatment, the more likely they are to have a positive outcome.

Paramedics in the field can capture critical data about the patient’s condition and wirelessly transmit the information to the hospital’s care team, who can access the EKG images on a computer, laptop or handheld devices.  Emergency physicians, nurses and interventional cardiologists can more quickly and efficiently prepare for the patient’s impending arrival, including activating one of two of the hospital’s digital catheterization labs.

This helps provide a 20-minute head start toward opening blocked arteries and preventing further damage, says Dr. Anthony Mazzeo, medical director of Mercy Fitzgerald’s Emergency Department.

“The ideal timing for lifesaving action is within 90 minutes of from the patient’s arrival in our Emergency Department to our state-of-the-art interventional lab,” Dr. Mazzeo says. “Mercy Fitzgerald meets or exceeds that target in almost every case. This new EKG system will help us further reduce our door-to-balloon time and improve patient outcomes.”

Mercy Fitzgerald has been equipped with a 12-lead EKG system for more than five years. Using the latest digital technology, the new LIFENET Web-based solution is designed to set up community-wide STEMI-alert systems. This makes is possible for any ambulances in Pennsylvania with LIFENET to transmit EKGs into Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital.

Chief of Paramedics Larry Smythe says, “In a situation where every second counts in our patients’ lives, LIFENET is a national leader in making that critical connection between first responders and cardiac specialists in the hospital. We saw the opportunity to save more lives in our community with this program.” 

According to data compiled by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital has one of the lowest mortality rates for heart attack in the Philadelphia area. The hospital is a designated Blue Distinction Center for Cardiac Care by Independence Blue Cross and a recipient of a Gold Quality Award from the American Heart Association.

Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital offers a comprehensive continuum of cardiovascular care including screenings and education, diagnostics, cardiac catheterization, electrophysiology, heart surgery, and nationally-certified cardiac rehabilitation. To learn more, visit

Ann D’Antonio

Vice President, Marketing and Communications
Monday through Friday
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Before or after normal business hours

Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital
1500 Lansdowne Avenue
Darby, PA 19023

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