Leading the Way in Pre-Hospital Care
At Cypress Creek EMS innovation is in our DNA. In 2016, CCEMS became the only ground EMS system in Texas, and we believe in the country, to carry and transfuse both Packed Red Blood Cells and Fresh Plasma in the field. ESD 48 Fire Department in west Harris County, one of our partners in this endeavor, became the first combination Fire/EMS service to do so. Within nine hours of deployment, CCEMS transfused a trauma patient that otherwise might have died on the way to the hospital. Read more about how it all happened here.
In past years Cypress Creek EMS improved care for the citizens of Northwest Harris County with two clinical projects that have improved survival rates among heart attack victims. One was a pre-hospital STEMI alert program and other was the LUCAS device, an external compression system that provides mechanical chest compressions for patients in cardiac arrest. The STEMI program was started in 2006 in conjunction with Houston Northwest Medical Center. This program was spearheaded by our Medical Director, Dr. Levon Vartanian, and is now in effect at all hospitals with heart cath labs in the CCEMS coverage area.
When the program was launched, Dr. Vartanian and his clinical team trained lead Paramedics to read and interpret 12 lead EKG’s allowing them to diagnose patients having a specific type of heart attack called an ST elevation MI (STEMI). Patients with this type of heart attack have a blockage in one of their coronary arteries, and the sooner the blockage is cleared the less damage there is to the heart muscle . The paramedics start initiating treatment in the ambulance that would normally occur in the emergency room. The patient then bypasses the emergency room and goes straight to the hospital Cath Lab, where an interventional cardiologist performs a procedure to clear the blocked coronary artery. This ultimately saves valuable time, and “Time is Muscle”!
Since the program’s inception in 2006, it has proven to be one the most successful in the United States. In the fall of 2008 Cypress Creek EMS presented an abstract on its STEMI alert program at the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Scientific Sessions. This was the second time CCEMS was honored with the opportunity to present data on it’s STEMI alert project at the scientific sessions meeting.
The LUCAS device project began as a trial when the device was first approved by the F.D.A. CCEMS was among the first four EMS agencies to use it in the entire nation. With the use of this external compression device, CCEMS saw an 11% increase in Return of Spontaneous Circulation (ROSC). ROSC is an important link in the chain of survival. A higher rate of ROSC ultimately provides the potential for increased survival.
CCEMS staff and volunteers desire to save lives and improve the quality of life for the community. Our commitment to pursue new clinical programs and cutting-edge devices such as these allow us to do just that! That’s been our mission since we were formed in 1975 by ordinary citizens who watched a neighbor die of a heart attack due to substandard emergency medical service in the area.