Beacon Thrombolysis Service

Beacon status was awarded the Secretary of State for Health to Torbay Hospital’s cardiology service for its pioneering care for heart attack victims. Working in collaboration with the South Western Ambulance Service and with colleagues in the Emergency Department (A&E), the team has developed rapid “door-to-needle” treatment, speedily administering “clot-busting” drugs after the patient’s arrival. The ambulance crew radio ahead on the journey into hospital, alerting the specialist cardiology nurse and the specially-trained A&E chest pain team so they can be ready. The sooner the drugs can be given, the more likely that damage to the heart muscle will be minimised and the better the chance of a successful recovery.

Anyone who develops major chest pain should phone for an emergency ambulance. The paramedic crew can contact CCU and/or the Emergency Department (A&E) to warn them of the incoming patient.

Patients with ST Elevation MI (Myocardial Infarction) can be given thrombolytic drugs in the community (pre-hospital thrombolysis) and be admitted directly to CCU.

In the Emergency Department all patients with chest pain are rapidly triaged (assessed and prioritised) then assessed in the resuscitation room by a specially trained nurse. Patients can be given thrombolysis in the Emergency Department by a cardiac nurse specialist or by a member of the medical or the Emergency Department staff.

The thrombolytic service is just one of a range of cutting-edge services being offered by the cardiology team, including the use of Troponin tests to triage chest pain patients, a nurse-led heart failure service and an expanding cardiac rehabilitation programme.

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