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Richard Borders – STEMI Heart Attack Success Story

In a heartbeat – fast response time, teamwork save heart attack patient's life

Richard Borders, STEMI heart attack success story at Methodist Charlton
 "The key when you're experiencing chest pain
is to call 911 immediately," says heart attack
patient Richard Borders (front) surrounded by
people who helped save his life: DeSoto Fire
and Rescue and Methodist Charlton's ED
and cardiac catheterization lab teams.

Early one Sunday morning in January, Richard Borders began having pain in the center of his chest. The pains subsided for a short time but then returned with a vengeance. Borders suspected he was having a heart attack.

Fortunately, his family called 911. The paramedics who arrived at his home were able to perform an electrocardiogram (EKG) and immediately transmit the results to Methodist Charlton Medical Center, where the cardiology staff quickly diagnosed Borders with the most serious type of heart attack: a STEMI (ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction).

Because Borders' EKG results arrived at the hospital before he did, Methodist Charlton's emergency department (ED) and cardiac catheterization lab team were already prepared to begin treatment. His door-to-balloon time – the time between Borders' arrival at the hospital and a stent being implanted in his blocked artery to restore blood flow – was only 37 minutes. This time was far ahead of the national door-to-balloon goal of 90 minutes.

Borders was able to return home the next day with no damage to his heart.

Why minutes matter

"Lost time is lost muscle," says Dudley Wilcoxson, NREMT-P, emergency medical services (EMS) liaison in the ED at Methodist Charlton. "A STEMI is characterized by prolonged blockage of an artery. The heart muscle will die if blood flow is not restored quickly." 

Wilcoxson adds that being able to receive the patient's EKG from EMS before the patient arrives gives the hospital team a 20-minute head start on treatment.

Methodist Charlton averages a door-to-balloon time of 57 minutes. It also ranks among the top 5 percent of hospitals in Dallas County for SOAR (symptom onset to arterial reperfusion) times. SOAR times are measured from the moment a person recognizes heart attack symptoms to the time the stent is placed.

"Mr. Borders did exactly what we want patients to do, and that's call 911," Wilcoxson says, adding that heart attack patients risk injuring themselves and others by driving while having a heart attack and potentially having an accident. "Also, by calling an ambulance, you allow the paramedics to begin treatment before the patient arrives at the hospital."

Methodist Charlton is collaborating with other hospitals and EMS providers to help ensure that minutes aren't wasted when they matter most.


From the summer 2012 edition of Shine magazine.


Texas law prohibits hospitals from practicing medicine. The physicians on the Methodist Health System medical staff, are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of Methodist Health System or any of its affiliated hospitals.

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