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Crawford County Memorial Hospital in Denison, IA has been awarded a $12,000 grant from the American Heart Association as part of Mission: Lifeline, an American Heart Association community-based initiative aimed at improving the system of care for heart attack patients throughout rural Iowa.

“The recent addition of 12-Lead ECG (Electrocardiogram) equipment in the Dow City Fire/Ambulance Service and the Manilla Fire/Ambulance Service will aid the CCMH Ambulance department in reaching victims of heart attacks sooner,” said Bruce Musgrave, CCMH Ambulance director. “The grant to add the telemetry equipment to receive the data from the field in real time will allow us to better diagnose and treat heart conditions in emergency situations.”

Musgrave added, “We are grateful to the American Heart Association, through the Mission: Lifeline program, for providing us with this life-saving equipment.”

Each year, hundreds of thousands of Americans have the most serious type of heart attack known as an ST-elevated myocardial infarction, or STEMI, in which blood flow is completely blocked to a portion of the heart. Unless the blockage is eliminated quickly, the patient’s life is at serious risk. Currently, around two-thirds of STEMI patients fail to receive the best available treatments to restore blood flow. Mission: Lifeline seeks to save lives by closing the gaps that separate STEMI patients from timely access to appropriate treatments.

The project will enhance many critical elements of an optimal STEMI system of care: a system-wide data tool for quality measurement and improvement; ongoing medical provider training and STEMI education; coordination of protocols for rural EMS and hospital personnel; regional plans for rapid transport of patients; and a public education campaign on heart attack symptoms and the need to call 9-1-1. Funding focused on enhancing rural systems is being awarded for hospitals and ambulance services to enhance 12 L ECG equipment and training.

“This generous grant funding will allow Iowa to take heart attack care to the next level across the entire state,” said Heather Maier, Mission: Lifeline Director in Iowa. “We will now have the opportunity to identify a heart attack faster, and provide lifesaving treatments before significant damage, or even death occurs. Regional systems of care will optimize treatment times with the tools, education, and resources of Mission Lifeline. The result is access to the most advanced STEMI care for all patients in Iowa regardless of location”.

The program is made possible by $6.1 million in funding including a $4.6 million grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. Additional funding came from the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend, Principal Financial Group Foundation, UnityPoint Health – Des Moines, the Midwest Affiliate of the American Heart Association, and other supporters.

The Helmsley Charitable Trust and the American Heart Association launched Mission: Lifeline in South Dakota in July 2010 with a commitment of $8.4 million from the Trust. From 2011 through 2014, the Trust also generously committed additional funding for Mission: Lifeline in six other states: North Dakota, Wyoming, Minnesota, Nebraska, Montana and Iowa. The total commitment from the Trust for Mission: Lifeline has reached $36.8 million.