ReadyLink 12-Lead ECG – A new tool for rural EMS

Physio-Control is on the verge of launching a new product that could be a game changer for the care of STEMI patients, ST-Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction, especially in rural areas.

It’s called ReadyLink 12-Lead ECG and it will allow BLS personnel to capture a 12-lead ECG and transmit the ECG for off-site interpretation using the LIFENET system.

This is important because right now in the United States there are a lot of rural areas that have been excluded from regional systems of care because they don’t have the ability to capture 12-lead ECGs.

As a result STEMI patients are not receiving timely reperfusion, and as well all know by now, longer the time-to-reperfusion the higher the mortality!

Here’s what I found out:

  • The device looks almost like an AED but it doesn’t shock. It’s been designed for one thing and one thing only — to acquire a 12-lead ECG and transmit it to someone qualified to interrpet it.
  • It works with cellular technology to transmit the 12-lead ECG through the LIFENET system. If there’s no cell signal it cannot transmit, so there will still be some areas where ReadyLink 12-Lead ECG will not work.
  • On the plus side, it can roam through multiple networks and will continously look for a signal and transmit when it finds one. Or, if it loses a signal it will try again when it reacquires one.
  • There is no analog socket in the device so it cannot be used with a landline.
  • If necessary BLS personnel can call up computerized interpretive statements, so even in areas with no cell signal it would be possible to use this feature as part of the bypass or preactivation criteria.
  • The cost of the ReadyLink 12-Lead ECG has not yet been established but my sources at Physio-Control tell me the device will retail in the $7,000 – $8,000 range. More than an AED but far less than a Lifepak 15!

Bottom line: This device will make help to expedite the care for those patients that have a heart attack in a rural area. The quicker that you can get the ECG read, the quicker the care for that patient can begin.