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Making every minute count

Rapid response, teamwork and advanced cardiac technology saved Syed’s life.

Man in a suit leans against a counter inside a cell phone store.
With his heart feeling stronger, Syed is happy to be back at work.

Syed Hussain, 48, from Bohemia, NY, has a history of coronary artery disease. So when he felt crushing pain in his chest, he knew it was time to call for help.

Sayville Community Ambulance was first to arrive. Emergency responders quickly performed an on-the-scene electrocardiogram (EKG) that showed Syed was having a massive heart attack. Luckily for Syed, the ambulance company and Southside Hospital share the LifeNet system, and the emergency responders were able to send his EKG directly—and securely—to Southside Hospital’s Emergency Medicine team.

“The emergency department physicians receive the EKG from emergency medical technicians in the field and review it for signs of a heart attack,” explained Gregory Paul Garra, DO, associate chair of Emergency Medicine at Southside Hospital. “If there are abnormalities that indicate a heart attack, we activate the cardiology team to start preparations for a catheterization.” A cardiac catheterization is a special procedure used to identify heart blockages and restore blood flow.

Dr. Garra knows that when time is muscle, every minute counts. “The early activation of the cardiology team before the patient arrives at the hospital helps to quickly and seamlessly provide lifesaving treatment sooner.”

Man in front of a computer holds a cell phone and leans against a counter.
Syed is enjoying life and grateful to his care team at Southside Hospital.

In this case, “sooner” meant that the time between when the ambulance reached Southside Hospital’s doors and when Syed was having his blocked artery opened was 33 minutes. That’s almost an hour faster than the national guideline for hospitals.

“The Southside Emergency Medicine team worked diligently and swiftly to manage Syed’s heart attack upon his arrival and got him ready for the procedures he imminently needed,” explained Puneet Gandotra, MD, vice chair of Cardiology at Southside Heart & Lung. “He was then brought to the cardiac catheterization lab with a closed artery. The team worked quickly to open up his artery and provide the relief he needed to stop the heart attack.”

Thanks to the coordinated response from the emergency medical services workers, the emergency department and the cardiac team (ranked among the top 10% in the country for coronary interventional procedures by Healthgrades in 2019), Syed had minimal damage to his heart muscle and was discharged from the hospital two days later. He’s grateful to his entire care team at Southside Hospital.

“Dr. Gandotra was very nice, which was so helpful during this otherwise stressful situation,” said Syed. “I feel strong now and my heart is much more stable. They did a very good job.”

In recognition of its high-quality care of people with severe heart attacks, Southside Hospital received the 2018 American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline Gold Award. Southside was the first hospital on Long Island to achieve this designation.

Learn more about the LifeNet system that saved Syed's life.