Monday, February 04, 2013
When a heart attack occurs, the clock starts ticking because early treatment is critical and minutes really do make the difference. For patients who suffer cardiac emergencies, the hospitals of Covenant Health offer a network of skilled, medical professionals available to provide lifesaving treatment.
In addition to top-notch emergency care at all Covenant Hospitals, interventional cardiologists are on staff at Methodist Medical Center, Parkwest Medical Center, and Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center for the most critical cases. They are trained in the insertion of small, mesh-like tubes called stents, and able to open arteries clogged by plaque and restore blood flow.
“The ability to rapidly triage and treat heart attacks is absolutely our priority” says Dr. Todd Justice, multi-boarded and fellowship-trained interventional cardiologist with Methodist. “Opening clogged arteries as quickly as possible makes all the difference in determining how a patient with a heart attack does in both the short and long terms."
Nationally recognized care
Collaboration between local EMS providers and the staffs of the emergency, cardiac and intensive care units at Covenant Health’s network of seven acute care hospitals throughout the region provide the best benefit for the patient. Covenant Health’s Heart Hospitals have been recognized three years in a row for this type of teamwork by the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association.
Most recently, Methodist, Parkwest and Fort Sanders Regional were three of only 164 hospitals in the nation to receive the American College of Cardiology Foundation’s 2012 Platinum Performance Award for implementing “a higher standard of care” for patients who have suffered a heart attack. The Platinum award is the highest level achievable.
The award, known officially as the NCDR ACTION Registry-GWTG Platinum Performance Achievement Award, also recognizes Methodist, Parkwest and Fort Sanders Regional for ongoing excellence in reaching “an aggressive goal of treating these patients,” based on the most current, science-based guidelines established by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association.
Saving time means saving lives
The national standard for getting a blocked vessel open is 90 minutes or less after the patient arrives at a hospital’s emergency room. As a system, the average door-to-balloon time at all of Covenant Health’s Heart Hospitals is faster than the national benchmark.
“Every minute counts when a heart attack blocks the flow of blood and oxygen to part of the heart,” says Dr. Milan Sheth, a triple-boarded and fellowship-trained interventional cardiologist with Methodist. “Without oxygen, heart tissue dies and it’s our job to keep that from happening,”