Taking Care of the Hearts of Wyoming During American Heart Month


Wyoming Life Flight crews have specialized equipment and training to save lives  
during cardiac events 

Casper, WY, Feb. 10, 2023 – Ever since Congress passed a joint resolution in 1963, February has been declared American Heart Month to help raise awareness on cardiac health and promote heart-healthy lifestyles. With heart disease remaining the leading cause of death in Wyoming and across the US, with over 1,000 Wyomingites dying from it every year, the Life Flight crew stays busy carrying for the state’s hearts. 

“The people of Wyoming probably don’t know what a high level of care they will receive when our air ambulance is called for a heart attack,” said Darryl Crown, account executive with Air Methods, the parent company of Wyoming Life Flight. “Not only do we have specialized equipment and medication to minimize damage to the heart before arriving at the hospital, but our clinicians also receive advanced, ongoing training that essentially makes our aircraft a flying emergency room.” 

When transporting a patient to the hospital during a heart attack, the crews on board Wyoming Life Flight’s Bell 407 helicopter can administer medications to help stabilize the patient. They also carry a LUCAS device which performs chest compressions at the correct speed and depth in the tight confines of the aircraft.  

Severe blood loss resulting from an accident or trauma can lead to cardiac arrest. Because Wyoming Life Flight carries blood on board, the clinicians can administer it in flight, preventing a potentially deadly complication to an already emergent situation. For rural communities, time is of the essence in trauma situations, making air medical service with blood products on board vitally important. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed the administration of thawed blood plasma during pre-hospital air medical transport resulted in a lower 30-day mortality rate than standard resuscitation alone. 

“Time is the enemy in a heart attack,” said Tara Trottier, a flight nurse with Wyoming Life Flight. “We are able to use our aircraft to significantly cut the time it takes to get a patient to a hospital and into a cath lab. Irreversible heart damage begins within 30 minutes, so every second really counts.”  

Heart attack patients needing to be moved from one hospital to another for a higher level of care are in good hands thanks to Wyoming LifeFlight’s Pilatus PC 12 airplane that can transport patients across long distances. The exceptional crews are trained for the in-flight care of patients with intra-aortic balloon pumps, Impellas, LVADs (left ventricular assist devices), and ECMO therapy due to previously diagnosed heart issues. These machines help the heart pump blood and require extra attention in-flight. Every nurse and paramedic has access to Air Methods Ascend, an in-person and online training program that allows clinicians to perform at the top of their licensure. Air Methods Ascend is available to medical personnel across the county. 

This specialized care of hearts isn’t new. Wyoming Life Flight will celebrate its 40th anniversary later this year. This long-time devotion to the residents of Wyoming, the world-class training of their nurses and paramedics, and their commitment to providing affordable care without the cost of a membership all demonstrate why residents of the Cowboy State have come to rely on Wyoming Life Flight. The program is in-network with most major insurance carriers, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming and the United Mine Workers of America.