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Meducare balloon pump therapy rolling
Cardiac patients from throughout South Carolina can rely upon a new,
unique emergency critical care service available through MUSC that
enables specialized care for cardiac patients during transport.
Marshall Kearney stands in front of Medic 1, Meducare’s new critical
care ambulance, which is designed to accommodate intra-aortic balloon
MUSC and Meducare began last year providing intra-aortic balloon pump
services for adult patient transports using trained critical care
paramedics. Meducare is the only ground transport system in the state
approved to transport these patients utilizing critical care paramedics.
Balloon-pump therapy, available for both adult and pediatric
patients, assists an individual weakened by a heart condition or
diagnosed with a com-promised heart function. For these patients, the
heart does not have enough energy to adequately pump blood throughout
the body. In the procedure, a tiny balloon device is inserted into the
heart via a catheter, which assists the heart in pumping. Trained
critical care paramedics monitor the patient and their cardiac output
to adjust for medications and other services.
This service adds to an array of specialty services already provided by
Meducare Ground Transport with MUSC since its establishment in 1997. So
far, more than 10 individuals, many of them cardiac patients, have been
successfully transported using balloon-pump therapy.
The proposal to add this service was approved as a pilot program by
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s (DHEC)
Emergency Medical Services Division last January. Usually these
services require the coordinated effort of a critical care team
consisting of a perfusionist, critical care nurse or physician. Now
these services can be provided by any of MUSC’s team of critical
MUSC’s nine critical care paramedics are required to complete an
extraordinary amount of training working throughout various intensive
care units at MUSC. Each critical care paramedic must complete a
comprehensive three-week critical care instruction program that
features didactic and hands-on training in invasive procedures,
including balloon-pump therapy. MUSC paramedics also are required to
complete an additional 180 hours of clinical time annually working
within the hospital—that’s six additional weeks of required training
before new paramedics can begin to work.
“The role of paramedics has vastly changed and evolved for the past 20
years, and since critical care and emergency medicine was established
at MUSC,” said John Kratz, M.D., professor of Surgery and balloon-pump
transport medical coordinator. “Trained critical-care paramedics can
provide proper expertise for patients requiring these specialized
services during transport. Working with MUSC’s new Chest Pain Center
located in Ashley River Tower, teams will provide quick coordinated
care that’s needed to respond to any acute coronary event.”
To complement this specialized service, Meducare expanded its fleet of
nine ambulances to include a new critical care ambulance in November.
This specialized ambulance is considered the very latest and best in
comfort and technology. Much larger in size than a typical ambulance,
it is specially equipped to handle balloon-pump therapy patients and is
supportive of other specialized services. Most importantly, the new
ambulance is designed for long-distance critical-care transports around
the state and beyond.
Beginning in February, the new ambulance will be specifically dedicated
for use with the Heart & Vascular Center and Chest Pain Center now
located at Ashley River Tower.
Friday, Jan. 18, 2008
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