RVH is once again expanding advanced cardiac care in the region, improving access to this lifesaving treatment. 

Now some residents of Simcoe County, including Rama First Nation, who call 9-1-1 with heart attack symptoms will be transported directly to RVH for care, bypassing local Emergency departments. People with symptoms who go to their local hospital’s Emergency department on their own will continue to be stabilized and transported to Southlake Regional Health Centre (Southlake) in Newmarket.   

This change is the result of an important new heart attack protocol called the Simcoe Muskoka Code STEMI Protocol, a partnership between RVH, the County of Simcoe Paramedic Services, Rama Paramedic Services and area hospitals. 

“Having these advanced cardiac services, and a highly-skilled team at RVH means that now most patients in Simcoe County will be able to get lifesaving intervention within 90 minutes of a heart attack,” says Dr. Mark Kotowycz, medical director of RVH’s Cardiac Intervention Unit. “That is great news because the faster a patient can be treated, the better the outcome. When it comes to the heart, ‘time is muscle.’ This is a very important step in our safe, gradual phased approach to eventually bring timely access to 24/7 advanced cardiac care to all of North Simcoe Muskoka.”

In January, the second phase of the new protocol will come into effect. At that time, heart attack patients who go to Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital’s (OSMH) Emergency department will be transported directly to RVH. In February this will also apply to patients who present to the Emergency departments at Georgian Bay General Hospital (GBGH) and Collingwood General and Marine Hospital (CGMH).

It is expected the protocol will extend to Muskoka residents in early summer 2021 and, by the end of 2022, paramedics in Grey County and Parry Sound will transport heart attack patients directly to RVH.

RVH is well positioned to deliver advanced cardiac care. The regional heart program, a partnership with Southlake, opened in January 2018 and since then the cardiac team has completed just over 5,000 heart procedures including angiograms, angioplasty  and pacemaker implants.  “Heart attacks continue to be a major cause of death and disability in our society. When a heart attack occurs, the best chance for a good outcome is by accessing advanced cardiac care without delay,” says Dr. Michael Feldman, paramedic services medical director, County of Simcoe, District of Muskoka, Rama and Beausoleil First Nations. “Paramedics from the County of Simcoe and Rama First Nation, in partnership with their base hospital physician at Sunnybrook, are trained to recognize and begin early treatment for heart attacks, and whenever possible, take these patients directly to RVH where the advanced cardiac team will be ready and waiting for them.”

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Donna Danyluk
Corporate Communications