Physio-Control is on the verge of launching a new product that could be a game changer for the care of STEMI patients, especially in rural areas.
It's called ReadyLink 12-Lead ECG and it will allow BLS personnel to capture a 12-lead ECG and transmit the ECG for off-site interpretation using the LIFENET system.
This is important because right now in the United States there are a lot of rural areas that have been excluded from regional systems of care because they don't have the ability to capture 12-lead ECGs.
As a result STEMI patients are not receiving timely reperfusion, and as well all know by now, longer the time-to-reperfusion the higher the mortality!
Last week I was given an exclusive interview with Cees Verkerk and Erik Denny from Physio-Control to talk about the device. I was also given permission to give the readers of the EMS 12-Lead blog a "sneak peak" prior to the product launch.
Here's what I found out:
- The device looks almost like an AED but it doesn't shock. It's been designed for one thing and one thing only — to acquire a 12-lead ECG and transmit it to someone qualified to interrpet it.
- It works with cellular technology to transmit the 12-lead ECG through the LIFENET system. If there's no cell signal it cannot transmit, so there will still be some areas where ReadyLink 12-Lead ECG will not work.
- On the plus side, it can roam through multiple networks and will continously look for a signal and transmit when it finds one. Or, if it loses a signal it will try again when it reacquires one.
- There is no analog socket in the device so it cannot be used with a landline.
- If necessary BLS personnel can call up computerized interpretive statements, so even in areas with no cell signal it would be possible to use this feature as part of the bypass or preactivation criteria.
- The cost of the ReadyLink 12-Lead ECG has not yet been established but my sources at Physio-Control tell me the device will retail in the $7,000 – $8,000 range. More than an AED but far less than a Lifepak 15!
In the past couple of years I have been made aware of a handful of volunteer or BLS EMS agencies that have been equipped (through grants or charitable donations) with Lifepak 12s or Lifepak 15s so they can acquire and transmit 12-lead ECGs.
While this is certainly commendable the cost can be prohibitive.
As regional systems of care for acute STEMI continue to be implemented across the country with help from organizations like the American Heart Association's Mission: Lifeline, it's easy to see how the ReadyLink 12-Lead ECG will nicely complement the LIFENET system by tying in the rural areas.
After all, they have heart attacks, too!