Sanford Health Is Using New Cell Phone Technology to Save Lives - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Sanford Health Is Using New Cell Phone Technology to Save Lives

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The American Heart Association's  Mission: Lifeline, is improving care for acute heart attack patients by providing new technology that allows ECG's (heart rhythm)  to be sent from the ambulance service to the hospital and then at Sanford immediately to the on call cardiologist's cell phone. The cardiologist can read the ECG on his cell phone (without having to be at the hospital) allowing a faster diagnosis and treatment.  

73 year old, Harvey Hochholter, Valley City retired banker, experienced the benefits of this new technology. It was 6:30 am when he experienced chest and back pain. He recognized the symptoms and did the right thing. At 6:50 am he called 9-1-1 and the Barnes County ambulance arrived at his home at 7:00 am.

The ambulance performed the 12-lead ECG at 7:05 am and was able to transmit the results to Sanford. The ECG noted an acute heart attack (ST elevated MI).

Dr. Haldis from Sanford was able to read the particularly difficult to diagnose ECG from his cell phone at home.

Within a few minutes, the ambulance service was notified and Harvey was taken directly to Sanford, Lifeflight met the ambulance, all working together to significantly speed up transport.

At 8:17 am the patient arrived in the cardiac cath lab and was shown to have a 99% blockage in a major artery in his heart.  A stent was inserted to open the blockage and restore blood flow. The patient is doing well and will be discharged later this morning. 

 Additional Facts:

  • 97% of ambulance services in North Dakota are equipped with at least one 12-lead ECG unit with transmission capabilities in addition to training for EMS staff. 
  • All hospitals are eligible to receive 12-lead ECG receiving equipment and comprehensive training and education on STEMI protocols. 
  • An important factor in a positive patient outcome is early patient recognition of heart attack symptoms and immediately calling 911. Patient delay in reporting symptoms is one of the greatest obstacles to timely and successful care.
  • Each year, hundreds of thousands of Americans have a type of heart attack, in which blood flow is completely blocked to a portion of the heart. Unless the blockage is eliminated quickly, the patient's health and life are at serious risk.


The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust is the major funder of the North Dakota Mission: Lifeline Initiative providing 2/3 of the funding.  The State of North Dakota provided $600,000.  Additional support was received from North Dakota six largest tertiary hospitals, Dakota Medical Foundation, Bremer Foundation and the Midwest Affiliate of the American Heart Association.


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