KUALA LUMPUR: The National Heart Institute (IJN) has enhanced its 24-hour Heart Attack Service to give patients faster access to treatment through its collaboration with First Ambulance Services (FAS).

FAS paramedics are trained in basic life support as well as advanced cardiac life support. Its 27 ambulance have medical equipment to assist those who experience a heart attack. The FAS transportation service is an extension of IJN’s existing ambulance service.

“FAS paramedics are trained by IJN itself,“ IJN chief executive officer Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Azhari Yakub said at IJN today.

“I am confident these paramedics are able to give the best support to patients. I hope with this partnership even more patients can have faster access to our Heart Attack Centre.”

Mohd Azhari said heart disease remains the leading cause of death among Malaysians between 2005 and 2017.

“What is particularly concerning is that Malaysians are developing heart disease at a younger age compared with other countries in the region – at 58,“ he said.

“Even more worrying is the increasing rate of mortality among those suffering from heart diseases. The Health Ministry recently said there were 13,503 deaths in 2017, compared with 8,776 in 2007. This spike of 54% in just 10 years is alarming.”

The Heart Attack Centre provides 24-hour care to those who have just suffered heart attacks by performing life-saving emergency treatment. The main procedure conducted by the centre is Percutaneous Coronary Intervention, a non-invasive procedure and it utilises catheterisation to open narrowed or blocked arteries to allow blood flow to the heart.

The procedure, if performed in time, can improve a patient’s outcome before they seek long-term treatment.

FAS director Steven Penafort said if the patient is too far from FAS reach, they will be asked to go to the nearest hospital.

“Alternatively, we will coordinate with other ambulance providers,“ he added.