With a goal of keeping door-to-open-vessel time for heart attack patients to under 90 minutes, Blount Memorial has refined internal processes to include a STEMI Team notification system.
STEMI is an acronym for ST Segment Elevated Myocardial Infarction, denoting critical changes in an EKG indicating a heart attack.
“Time is muscle,” according to Blount Memorial physicians and staff. “And the sooner the patient can get the needed intervention, the better the outcome,” said hospital quality management director Marie Fox.
“The establishment of the rapid team notification system is not really new,” said Fox. “It’s another step in an ongoing collaborative process with cardiologists, emergency department physicians, emergency medical services personnel and a number of hospital departments including the laboratory, radiology and nursing,” she said.
In emphasizing the importance of narrowing the window of time between arrival at the hospital and opening the heart vessel, Fox said that the greatest line of defense is to call 911.
“No matter how quickly you think you or a friend or family member can get you to the hospital, the quickest route to treatment always will be by emergency medical professionals. Treatment can begin as soon as they have reached you. The hospital will be notified, the STEMI team will be alerted, and preparations for your arrival and care at the hospital will be set in motion - even before you reach the hospital,” Fox said.
Fox says that the 90-minute arrival-to-open-vessel goal is a national standard set by leading health care agencies and organizations including the American College of Cardiology. “In the past year, heart attack patients arriving at Blount Memorial by ambulance were able to be treated in the heart catheterization laboratory within the critical 90-minute timeframe,” she said.
Blount Memorial’s STEMI Team notification system is one more step in a series of recently enhanced processes and new technologies aimed at improving outcomes for heart attack patients.