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SD First Responders Documented By Film Crew

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An effort to fight heart attacks in South Dakota is receiving national attention.

Filmmakers working on a project called "Code STEMI,” a Web TV series, stopped for a shoot in Sioux Falls Wednesday.

The series shares the stories of smaller communities who have adopted STEMI programs, which help patients receive faster treatment.

The filmmakers chose to come to South Dakota because they say the state is leading the way when it comes to responding to emergencies in rural areas.

STEMI is short for ST elevation myocardial infarction, the deadliest form of heart attack.

The show was started by two paramedics who wanted to promote what they say is the best way to treat patients, allowing them to receive the critical care they need right away.

The STEMI initiative is part of the American Heart Association's Mission: Lifeline Project, aiming to improve care for heart attack patients.

"We're very excited that they're getting that national recognition for the superior care that they do give our patients,” said Chrissy Spoo with the American Heart Association.

"What's interesting or important about heart attack care is seconds truly count,” said "Code STEMI" Producer Tom Bouthillet.

Time is immensely important, especially for those suffering from heart attacks in the more rural parts of South Dakota.

Places far away from where complicated procedures like angioplasty can be performed.

Thanks to new STEMI care systems, heart information can be transferred to a far away lab and treatment can be figured out immediately.

"It's that immediate response, that immediate care, that's key in making sure that we get those survival rates,” said Spoo.

Filmmakers hope adding a personal angle, with survivor and caregiver stories, will help show the full benefit of the systems.

"This is somewhere that South Dakota is really leading the way, with the emergency treatment of cardiac care,” said Bouthillet.

As part of the STEMI initiative, officials with the American Heart Association say they've been able to equip first responders with 12 EKG systems, thanks to an $8.4 million grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust.

"Code STEMI" will air on the First Responders Network.  
You can access the shows on their website: www.firstrespondersnetwork.com.
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