Point-of-care technology speeds treatment

Nov. 28, 2012 at 12:01 AM
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CHICAGO, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- A Chicago-area hospital says its use of point-of-care technology helps diagnosis and treat patients with potential medical emergencies faster.

Hannah Gorman, a 20-year-old nursing student, said she had been feeling unwell for several days but when she awoke to chest pains at 3:30 a.m., she said she thought she was having a heart attack because of her medical training and her family history of heart disease.

She was taken immediately to Loyola University Health System's Emergency Department, in Maywood, Ill., where a physician used point-of-care technology -- using a hand-held device, the physician took a single blood sample that was used to analyze cardiac troponin, an indicator of heart disease, as well as blood glucose and blood gas levels. Results were available in minutes.

"Swift assessment of patients complaining of chest pain means faster treatment and improved outcomes," Dr. Mark Cichon, chairman of the Loyola department of emergency medicine, whose team cared for Gorman. "Loyola has a physician in triage so patients are not only assessed faster but treatment is expedited."

Gorman was diagnosed with a condition called costichondritis, which mimics a heart attack.

"I felt immediately cared for because the staff was taking action and, in minutes, I learned my test results and course of action for care," Gorman said. "Time matters in heart treatment and Loyola made each second count in my favor."

Loyola University Health System's hospital is designated by the state of Illinois as a Level I Trauma Center for both adult and pediatric patients and receives some of the region's most critically ill and injured patients.

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