News release

Faster Heart Attack Treatment Offered in Guysborough, Antigonish Strait Health Authority

Heart attack patients who call 911 will receive faster treatment through new training by paramedics in the Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority.

As part of government's Better Care Sooner health plan, the provincial pre-hospital STEMI Reperfusion Strategy (RESTORE) expanded this week to the district health authority following a successful project in Cape Breton.

This marks the first week for 20 advanced care paramedics who can now administer Tenectoplase (TNK), a new generation clot-busting medication if they are treating someone experiencing a heart attack.

"We hope this new training will encourage people to call 911 if they think they are having a heart attack because every second counts," said Health Minister Maureen MacDonald. "This is one of the best ways to receive care sooner as we implement our new emergency plan for Nova Scotia."

The earlier a patient experiencing a heart attack from an arterial blockage has it removed, the better the chance the heart muscle will not be damaged. The TNK medication, administered by needle, begins the treatment immediately.

There are 27 people in Cape Breton who may not have survived without receiving the clot-busting drug which has been available there since 2008. The RESTORE program will be expanded across the province by the end of April.

"Cape Breton has seen many positive outcomes in their district because of this program," said Kevin MacDonald, CEO for the Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority.

"Government is committed to providing better care sooner and the roll out provincially makes sense. EHS should be the first point of contact for an individual experiencing a heart attack and now these specially trained paramedics will be saving more lives because of their ability to administer TNK."

Nova Scotia's ground ambulances are also equipped with 12-lead defibrillators capable of performing the same type of electrocardiogram test a patient would receive after arriving at the hospital.

Eric Lawseth of Sydney, the first person in Nova Scotia to receive the clot-busting drug, says it saved his life. "I was very fortunate. Within four minutes of receiving the drug I felt better," said Mr Lawseth.

"Whenever you are feeling unwell and suspect that it might be heart attack, don't think of getting in your car and driving -- get someone to call 911 and let the paramedics who have the training take care of you."

The Better Care Sooner plan was released in December. Over the next three years it will improve the quality of emergency care, reduce overcrowding and wait times for patients in emergency rooms, and provide better health care for families.

For more information or to download a copy of the report visit www.gov.ns.ca/health/bettercaresooner .

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Heart attack patients who call 911 in the Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority will receive faster treatment through new training by paramedics in the district.

Twenty advanced care paramedics can now administer Tenectoplase (TNK), a new generation clot-busting medication if they are treating someone experiencing a heart attack.

Health Minister Maureen MacDonald says she hopes this new training will encourage people to call 911 if they think they are having a heart attack because every second counts.

The provincial pre-hospital STEMI Reperfusion Strategy (RESTORE) expanded this week to the district health authority following a successful project in Cape Breton.

As part of government's Better Care Sooner Plan, the program will be expanded provincewide by the end of April.

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Media Contacts:

Sherri Aikenhead
Department of Health 902-424-7942 E-mail:
Krista Beck
Emergency Health Services 888-255-6606 E-mail: