Studies have shown the most crucial element affecting the survival of patients having a heart attack is how quickly the arteries of the heart are re-opened. The time between emergency transport of an acute heart attack patient and a life-saving heart catheterization to open up the blockage is critical. This block of time is known as “door-to-balloon.”
Time Can Save Your Life
According to the American College of Cardiology (ACC), 90 minutes is the critical time threshold for patients. In 2006 the ACC launched a national door-to-balloon quality improvement initiative. CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System was the first hospital in the entire region to implement the Code STEMI protocol in 2006 and participate in this life-saving quality improvement effort.
The streamlined Code STEMI processes implemented at Louis & Peaches Owen Heart Hospital shorten the time required to open the affected artery during a heart attack. Particular attention is paid to minimizing the steps between diagnosing the heart attack and getting the patient to the catheterization lab for the procedure. Since 2006, Code STEMI has reduced transport to treatment time of acute heart attack victims from greater than 135 minutes to less than 60 minutes--far better than national standards.
The Code STEMI initiative includes a collaborative effort among outlying hospitals, Champion Emergency Medical Services ambulances, CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Flight For Life air ambulance and the Emergency Care Center at CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital.
CHRISTUS EMS ambulances and Flight For Life helicopters are equipped with electrocardiogram devices to monitor the heart. When EMS or a hospital in the CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Code STEMI program network has an acute heart attack patient, an EKG is transmitted to CHRISTUS Mother Frances EmergencyCARE Center. Physicians use the EKG and communication with paramedics to diagnose the problem and mobilize the Cardiac Team. The heart attack victim bypasses the Emergency Care Center and goes straight to the cath lab in the Louis & Peaches Owen Heart Hospital where the staff is activated and awaiting the patient’s arrival.