Bike ambulances roll out to reduce heart attack deaths

With four bike-ambulances and 12 nurses trained to handle emergency cases, Mission DELHI (Delhi Emergency Life Heart-Attack Initiative) aims to reduce the time it takes for people with a serious heart attack to receive clot-busting medicine.
Aiming at reducing the number of deaths from heart attacks, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Thursday launched ‘Mission DELHI’ to deliver good post-attack care at the doorstep.(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
Aiming at reducing the number of deaths from heart attacks, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Thursday launched ‘Mission DELHI’ to deliver good post-attack care at the doorstep.(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Apr 26, 2019 07:18 AM IST
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ByHT Correspondent

Aiming at reducing the number of deaths from heart attacks, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Thursday launched ‘Mission DELHI’ to deliver good post-attack care at the doorstep.

With four bike-ambulances and 12 nurses trained to handle emergency cases, Mission DELHI (Delhi Emergency Life Heart-Attack Initiative) aims to reduce the time it takes for people with a serious heart attack to receive clot-busting medicine.

In the pilot phase, it will cater only to people living in a three-kilometre radius of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and may be further expanded, depending on the success of the project.The service will be available at toll free numbers — 14430 and 1800-11-1044 — for help.

Nurses posted at the control room in AIIMS will assess the kind of care the patient needs on the basis of a questionnaire and then dispatch a bike ambulance.

A CATS ambulance will also be dispatched simultaneously.

“The main aim of the project is to give thrombolytic medicines to heart attack patients, if needed. For that, the first responders will do an electrocardiography (ECG) that can be relayed directly back to our control room, where doctors can check it tell the nurses at the scene how to proceed,” said Dr Chandni Suvarna, a senior scientist running the project.

The first response vehicles will also be equipped with oxygen cylinders and defibrillators to shock a patient of cardiac arrest.

“Under the project, timely emergency treatment will reach patients before their condition worsen,” Dr Venugopal, ex-director AIIMS, said.

The project aims to reduce the mortality from a serious type of heart attack called ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI), wherein one of the heart’s major the artery, supplying oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle, gets completely blocked.

“It is important to remove the clot stopping the blood flow. If the heart walls are damaged, they cannot be repaired. Clot-busters are almost equal to angioplasty. Clot buster medication is a low-cost treatment whereas angioplasty is expensive. Clot-busters can be given within a short time after a heart attack,” said Dr Balram Bhargava, director general, ICMR.

Heart muscles die within four to six hours and then the damage cannot be undone. So, it is essential that the clot-busting injection is given as soon as possible. “However, there are two delays when it comes to receiving timely treatment — symptom to door and door to the needle. The project reduces both the time. In Delhi, even if an ambulance is called immediately on the onset of symptoms, it will take a while to reach the patient and bring them back to the hospital. Then, once in the hospital, several tests need to be done before administering the medicine. All this will happen at the patient’s home,” said Dr Swati Sharma, another scientist with the programme.

The project will cost 5 crore over three years and more, if expanded.

The awareness drives and dry runs for the project had started seven months ago. So far, the nurses on the field have already conducted 1,804 dry runs and done 1,040 ECG.

“In the beginning, we expect to receive at least three to five calls daily, more as the awareness increases,” said Dr Suvarna.

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Monday, December 06, 2021