EKG machines now available for Island patients

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Catalina Island Medical Center has new 12-lead EKG (Electrocardiography) machines for its Emergency Department, and Medical Group Office thanks to the CIMC Foundation. The Schiller AT-plus EKG units were purchased at a cost of $9,640 and are a life saving diagnostic tool that will be used by hospital physicians and nurses.

Catalina Island Medical Center has new 12-lead EKG (Electrocardiography) machines for its Emergency Department, and Medical Group Office thanks to the CIMC Foundation. The Schiller AT-plus EKG units were purchased at a cost of $9,640 and are a life saving diagnostic tool that will be used by hospital physicians and nurses.

The electrocardiogram is a very common cardiology test. A patient may come to the hospital complaining shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness or in the case of women even nausea and severe heartburn. Initial evaluation in such cases will include an EKG test to measure the “electrical activity of the heart.”

With a 12 lead EKG machine, electrode patches are placed on the patient’s limbs and on the surface of the chest. These electrodes detect tiny electrical changes on the skin that arise from the heart muscle. The overall magnitude of the heart’s electrical potential is then measured from 12 different angles (“leads”) and is recorded over a period of time (usually 10 seconds). “The EKG machine looks at the heart globally, front, back, top and bottom,” explained CIMC Staff Nurse Josie Vickers, RN.  Josie played a part, as did Catherine Rhyne, RN CPCS, and Amy Mordaa, RN MGO manager in assessing the need for upgrading the clinic and emergency room equipment, plus the ordering, and training for staff on its use and care.

The equipment can be moved from patient rooms to different locations within the Medical Group Office and ER on a new EKG cart, which was also purchased. With use in both departments it is estimated that CIMC performs an average of 5-10 EKGs daily. Patients in the ER who may have had a cardiac episode could require multiple scans to detect changes in or worsening of their heart’s electrical activity.  The test is painless and only takes minutes.  EKG test results are an important way to determine if a patient has had a heart attack or is experiencing a “heart block” resulting in a fast, slow or irregular heart rhythm.  Nurses are quick to recognize abnormalities in EKG readings. To the trained clinician, an EKG conveys a large amount of information about the structure of the heart and the function of its electrical conduction system.   Doctors and nurses working together have quick access to important information and treatment can begin immediately.  Factors related to an EKG measure the rate and rhythm of heartbeats, the size and position of the heart chambers, the presence of any damage to the heart’s muscle cells or conduction system, the effects of cardiac drugs, and the function of a patient’s pacemaker.

“It’s amazing how the heart repairs itself and how much stress it can take and still beat strongly and consistently,” said Janet Seebert, RN, who in addition to working in the hospital’s emergency department is CIMC’s Disaster Preparedness Coordinator.

Both of the new EKG units at CIMC are able to provide “spirometry” which measures lung function (specifically the amount or speed of air that can be inhaled and exhaled.) But this feature is only utilized in the clinic setting. Pulmonary Function Tests or PFTs are non invasive tests that shows how well the lungs are working. The tests measure lung volume, capacity, rates of flow, and gas exchange. This information can help the healthcare provider diagnose and decide the treatment of certain lung disorders, such as asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis and COPD.

Six registered nurses and the Medical Group Office staff received training on the new equipment.  Policies and procedures are in place for the assessment of patients and the maintenance of the EKG units themselves.  The Catalina Island Medical Center Foundation through its philanthropic and ongoing fundraising efforts provides important diagnostic and rehabilitative equipment to CIMC to enhance the patient’s experience and improve the quality of medical care at the hospital.

 

Catalina Island Medical Center is committed to be the destination for patient centered care and health enrichment.  For more information about medical services or to make an appointment to see a primary care physician please call 310-510-0096.

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