Paramedics trial more clot-busting drugs for heart-attacks

HEART attack patients around Queensland will have a better chance of surviving and recovering more quickly as part of an expanded trial for paramedics to administer clot-busting drugs.

Premier Campbell Newman said the potentially lifesaving program delivered on the Government's election promise to revitalise frontline services and create the best free public health system in Australia.

"Ultimately this is about saving the lives of our loved ones and I'm thrilled this program will be rolled out to our paramedics as part of our strong plan for better patient care," Mr Newman said.

"When you're the one who is having a heart attack, every second counts.

"Under this program, advanced care paramedics will be trained to recognise patients with a clot and administer these life-saving drugs before they reach hospital.

"We have already seen great success from this drug being used in our emergency departments and with our most highly-trained paramedics I am hopeful we will see similar outcomes with other paramedics around Queensland."

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said the Sunshine Coast was the first Queensland region to successfully train Advanced Care Paramedics with the program being expanded to Mount Isa and Bundaberg.

"To date, four patients have benefited from this trial on the Sunshine Coast and we'll soon see more officers taking part in this pilot program in the near future," Mr Springborg said.

"Since 2008 Intensive Care Paramedics in Queensland have been able to provide rapid access to lifesaving treatments for heart attack patients.

"By extending the scope of practice for other paramedics who work throughout all other Queensland regions, we are ensuring that they are receiving professional development and the best training while being armed with the best equipment and latest life-saving drugs.

"We have seen great success in using this drug as part of the Coronary Reperfusion Strategy which has seen 2,983 patients treated in six years.

"More than 1,100 of those patients have been fast-tracked to a catheter lab upon arrival at hospital which has improved patient recovery while taking pressure off our emergency departments.

"In practical terms, quicker treatment means less heart muscle damage which means a shorter hospital stay and the prospect of patients being back with their loved ones and returning to work sooner.

Fast Facts:

  • Myocardial Infarction (heart attack) is one of the highest causes of death in Queensland and Australia.
  • Queensland Ambulance Service officers across the state attend to approximately 8,000 heart attack patients every year. Almost 2,000 Queenslanders die of heart attacks every year with most deaths occurring before a person can be admitted to hospital.
  • Seven Advanced Care Paramedics have been trained on the Sunshine Coast to administer the clot-busting drug tenecteplase, 10 more paramedics would be trained throughout the state with more to possibly follow. If rolled out across the state, paramedics in all Queensland towns and regions will be trained and qualified to administer clot-busting drugs.
  • Five paramedics from the Wide Bay Local Area Service Networks will complete their training shortly, and five paramedics from Mount Isa will start their training soon.
  • This is a comprehensive multi-pronged approach, where QAS paramedics work closely with Queensland Health at cardiac centres across the state

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