Three Utah hospitals have joined the Intermountain Cardiac Emergency Network, bringing to 24 the number of hospitals in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming that coordinate efforts to improve their effectiveness in treating heart attack victims.

Humana Hospital-Davis North in Layton, Gunnison Valley Hospital in Gunnison and Central Valley Medical Center in Nephi have joined the network. Twenty-one community hospitals are now linked with the network's three cardiac centers - LDS Hospital, Salt Lake City; McKay-Dee Hospital Center, Ogden, and Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo.The three newest members are the first hospitals outside the Intermountain Health Care system to join the network since it was formed July 1. Its goal is to save heart attack victims and minimize damage to their heart muscle.

J. Phil White, director of heart services for IHC, hopes to accomplish network goals through confirmed, 24-hour availability of cardiologists for consultation, more visits by these heart specialists to community hospitals, enhanced transportation if patients need transfer to the centers and improved communi-cations.

Additionally, White oversees a major community education program that will begin later this year to teach people about the signals of a heart attack and the appropriate response.