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The Tidelands Health Newsroom

Published on August 07, 2009

Georgetown Hospital System and Georgetown County Collaborate on Door-to-Balloon Program Aimed At Improving Patient Mortality

Friday, August 07, 2009

Georgetown, SC A program designed to improve outcomes for area residents who display heart attack symptoms will soon be available as a result of collaboration between Georgetown County Emergency Medical Services and Georgetown Hospital System.

The initiative will allow patient data derived from using a 12-lead electrocardiogram to be transmitted from a residence to a medical facility. This technology allows EMS personnel to do pre-hospital arrival ECG’s on patients displaying symptoms consistent with a heart attack.  Patients who receive prompt treatment are more likely to survive cardiac episodes. 

“In order for the residents of our community to receive the best quality care possible, a group of GHS employees, together with cardiologists from Inlet Cardiopulmonary & Associates and EMS representatives worked collaboratively to implement this new ECG system,” said Julie Pope, Georgetown Memorial Hospital Director of Cath Lab & Endoscopy, “GHS has provided excellent cardiac care to patients experiencing myocardial infarction and this next step will enhance our current program.”

The ECG transmitting capability complements Georgetown Hospital System’s Door to Balloon (D2B) program, which was initiated locally in 2007.

The Door to Balloon program, introduced by the American College of Cardiology, encourages hospitals to adopt six evidence-based strategies designed to reduce the time interval between arrival at the hospital and the opening of a blocked artery with an angioplasty balloon. 

Transmission of patient data prior to arrival at a medical facility is the last strategy to implement.  Since the program’s inception, Georgetown Hospital System has reduced Door to Balloon times from a median time of 112 minutes to 68 minutes, or 60.7%, with an expectation to further lower the D2B time with the addition of the ECG transmission capability.

Fundraising efforts by the Georgetown Hospital System Women’s Board made the purchase of ECG technology possible.  The efforts began two years ago with a donation of more than $90,000 to purchase the ECG equipment to be used by EMS responders.  Georgetown Hospital System has provided additional funding needed for software license purchase.


Tidelands Health is the region’s largest health care provider and MUSC Health affiliate, serving the Carolinas at four hospitals and more than 60 outpatient locations. More than 2,500 employee, physician and volunteer partners work side by side with our communities to transform the health of our region – promoting wellness, preventing illness, encouraging recovery and restoring health.