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New heart technology saves lives

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BATON ROUGE - A new system could save your life if you find yourself in the back of an ambulance with heart pain.

Emergency Medical Services now uses the "12-LEAD" system to transmit images of your heart from the ambulance to emergency rooms across the city.

The system uses ten electrodes hooked to your arms, legs and chest to chart the electrical impulses in your heart.  That's more than three times what the old system used, providing a clearer and more detailed view of the heart muscle.  That way, paramedics can more accurately diagnose if you are having a heart attack.

"We found out, different parts of the heart muscle, you can have heart attacks in different areas," EMS Unit Commander and paramedic Matt Smyer told News 2.

Smyer said the new technology can cut treatment time by an hour or more by sending necessary information straight to doctors, so they can be ready to start treatment the moment they roll through the doors of the ER.

"If a patient is having a real, confirmed heart attack, part of the heart is dying," Mike Chustz with EMS said.  "The more time that occurs, the more damage to the heart."

All East Baton Rouge EMS ambulances are equipped with the technology, and have around 30 machines in all.  Some are used for training and some are back up for machines already in vehicles.

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