Major shakeup to the way paramedics treat heart attacks

Saving rural lives has been made a lot easier as St John officials introduce better methods for paramedics to treat heart attacks.

It is hoped that new treatment will benefit rural New Zealanders who until now haven't had the same level of treatment as urban dwellers.

Just two weeks ago, Waitarere Beach resident Brian Anstis suffered the most life-threatening heart attack known as STEMI, this is when the blood supply is completely cut off after a blockage of the artery forms.

"I just finished shaving and I felt shocking, I had pains in my chest pains, in both arms and I felt all wobbly," Mr Anstis told 1 NEWS.

Eight New Zealanders a day suffer from a STEMI heart attack and generally only four survive it.

In rural areas, it is a risk of losing your life.

Rural patients are a lot worse off than those in urban areas because they are unlikely to reach a hospital within the 90-minute window needed for treatment.

St John and District Health Board officials have agreed urgent action is needed and now paramedics are able to provide clot busting drugs in the field.

Before, patients were transported via helicopter to one of nine hospitals that specialise in STEMI treatment.

Clinical Support Officer Byron Williams says, "What it means is that there’s potentially going to be more kiwis getting to hospital alive."

350 people a year are expected to benefit from the new procedure.

Mr Anstis says, "If it hadn't been for the drugs that were administered on the morning, I would not be here today."

"St Johns people did a marvelous job."

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It’s hoped this will benefit rural New Zealanders. Source: 1 NEWS