Improving Time to Treatment for Heart Attack Patients

MyHealthy Decisions

July 18, 2016

The timely and effective treatment of heart attack victims has earned Bassett Medical Center the Mission: Lifeline® Silver Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association (AHA). The AHA’s recognition specifically calls out those institutions that achieve certain metrics meant to promote high standards of care in the treatment of patients who suffer severe heart attacks.

Every year, more than 250,000 people experience an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), the most deadly type of heart attack caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment. To prevent death, it’s critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by mechanically opening the blocked vessel or by providing clot-busting medication.

“We typically refer to door-to-balloon or door-to-needle time when talking about the timely treatment of individuals who experience a heart attack,” explains Bassett’s Chief of Cardiology Dr. Patrick McNulty. “Door-to-balloon time refers to the amount of time between when the heart attack patient arrives at our door to the time the patient receives lifesaving intervention, such as angioplasty. Similarly, door-to-needle time is the amount of time between when the patient arrives at the hospital to the time clot-busting medication is administered. There are many factors that can influence how quickly the patient reaches the cardiac team for treatment. By achieving the standards for care established by the AHA, we are doing our best to assure the quickest, best possible care for victims of severe heart attack at Bassett,” says McNulty.

The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program’s goal is to reduce system barriers to prompt treatment for heart attacks, beginning with the 9-1-1 call and continuing through hospital treatment.

Chair of the Mission: Lifeline Advisory Working Group James G. Jollis, MD, adds, “We commend Bassett Medical Center for this achievement award, which reflects a significant institutional commitment to the highest quality of care for their heart attack patients. Achieving this award means the hospital has met specific reporting and achievement measures for the treatment of their patients who suffer heart attacks and we applaud them for their commitment to quality and timely care.”

Bassett earned the award by meeting specific criteria and standards of performance for the quick and appropriate treatment of STEMI patients by providing emergency procedures to re-establish blood flow to blocked arteries when needed. Eligible hospitals must adhere to these measures at a set level for a designated period to12 consecutive months to receive this award.McNultyPatrickcolor2006.jpg

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