For Nancy Payne, Jan. 27 started out as an ordinary Monday: She made coffee, went grocery shopping and was looking through her mail when she began feeling intense, sudden chest pains.
“I knew I was in trouble when it felt like a rubber band was tightening around my chest and my arms started feeling prickly,” says Nancy, a 73-year-old Fort Scott retiree.
Fortunately, her husband, Gene, came in from outside and quickly called Bourbon County EMS. After arriving and obtaining a 12 lead EKG, it was determined she was having a ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction, also known as a STEMI, a heart attack where time is crucial. Instead of taking her to the Ascension Via Christi Emergency Department in Fort Scott, EMS transported her to the Ascension Via Christi Heart Center in Pittsburg.
While it might seem odd to drive the extra 30 miles to Pittsburg, heading directly to the cardiac cath lab there helped significantly reduce her door-to-balloon time, which leads to better outcomes.
“We have a protocol in place with Bourbon County EMS and Fort Scott ED to take patients to our Cardiac Cath Lab if they are experiencing a STEMI,” says Travis Battagler, manager of Cardiovascular Services at the Pittsburg hospital. “Time is muscle and every minute counts in these situations, it was every person's readiness that made this procedure smooth, efficient and impressive.”
Dr. Rizwan Khalid, interventional cardiologist, successfully placed Nancy's stent just 57 minutes after the call went out to EMS and only 9 minutes from the arrival at the hospital, says, “We have put policies in place for heart attack patients so that they can get definitive therapy, which is a stent in the blocked artery, as soon as possible. We continue to strive to improve the overall quality of care that we provide to this category of patients. Our cath lab team is very experienced and I am proud to be working with this committed group of individuals.”
As for Nancy, she’s grateful to the entire team and their efforts to save her life.
“I would have died if everyone involved hadn’t been so quick, knowledgeable and professional,” says Nancy, who subsequently has worked to improve her heart health by reducing her cholesterol levels as well as sugar, coffee and sodium intake.
“This second chance allowed me to spend more time spoiling my 13 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.”