Alert system helps critical eastern Iowa heart patients - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Alert system helps critical eastern Iowa heart patients

DYSART (KWWL) - This spring, paramedics brought a Tama County man back to life during cardiac arrest.

Now, health officials say a relatively new system in place in the Cedar Valley is helping him and other cardiac patients who need fast, life-saving treatment.

Steve Guillot has something most of us will never see.

A piece of paper showing the exact moment he died.

He flatlined during cardiac arrest March 15th.

Volunteer paramedics from Dysart and Elberon brought him back to life between Dysart and Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo.

"The driver pulled on the gravel road and I made sure exactly what I saw on the monitor and I said stand back and I charged and shocked and I kept saying start back, start back up and it did!" recalled Dysart volunteer paramedic Diana Weekley.

Guillot woke up before arriving at the hospital.

He says he knew by the looks of nurses and doctors the situation was grave.

Doctors put three stents in.

He went home two days later.

Now, cardiologists and the cath lab team can know the condition of patients like Guillot well before they arrive at the ER.

It's part of an alert system that communicates EKGs from EMTs in the field to doctors in the hospital.

It can cut wait times by 30 to 40 minutes.

"Time is muscle for us. The more time you go without oxygen to the muscle, that heart muscle dies and that doesn't regenerate, it's gone. The quicker we can intervene and re-fuse that artery makes a big difference," said Covenant Cath Lab Liaison Steven Spurlin.

Steve Guillot is proof.

He says the alert helps those who live several miles from an ER.

"I had wondered in the past about how I live in the country, response times, how could things happen, how could you get there in time. It all seemed pretty fast for me. It all fell into place. It had to. If there had been any wasted time, I wasn't going to make it. It's that simple," said Guillot.

Simple as looking at when time stopped for four minutes in march.

Medical officials say the "STeMI Alert" system is a good reason why people should call an ambulance - rather than drive themselves to a hospital.

Online Reporter:  Bob Waters

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