Gifts aim to improve rural Minn. heart attack care

Minnesota heart specialists are touting $6.5 million in charitable gifts that they say will save lives by improving the emergency medical response to acute heart attacks in rural areas.

The American Heart Association announced Thursday that it had amassed funding for its “Mission: Lifeline Minnesota” program. It is designed to more quickly diagnose heart attacks caused by total artery blockage, a type of cardiac arrest that is often deadly without swift treatment. The money will help equip rural hospitals and emergency responders with mobile equipment and training as well as assist them in collaborating with bigger trauma hospitals.

Heart attacks are the second-leading cause of death in Minnesota.

The three-year program will be fueled by several charitable donations, the largest of which is coming from the Helmsley Charitable Trust.