According to the 2013 American Heart Guidelines, all communities should create and maintain a regional system of STEMI (ST elevated myocardial infarction) care that includes assessment and continuous quality improvement of emergency medical services and hospital based activities. Five Rivers Medical Center (FRMC) is doing just that. A “STEMI” is one type of heart attack, a heart attack that requires a specific treatment. Since 2012 FRMC has been working with St. Bernard’s to implement a system that will get STEMI patients to the cardiac catheter lab for timely percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) which results in revascularization (restoration of blood flow) of the heart after a heart attack. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that patients with this type of heart attack, who initially arrive at a non-PCI hospital, be transferred to a PCI capable hospital and undergo PCI within 120 minutes of first medical contact. For those STEMI patients that arrive at a PCI capable hospital, the goal is 90 minutes for PCI. FRMC is a non-PCI hospital that transfers STEMI patients to St. Bernard’s and NEA Baptist in Jonesboro which are PCI-capable hospitals. With the collaboration of St. Bernard’s Hospital, Five Rivers Medical center has implemented a STEMI Protocol that starts in the Emergency Department and results in getting heart attack patients to the cardiac lab for PCI on an average of 90 minutes. This is well above the national standard. The STEMI program continues to be a work in progress. FRMC continues to work in partnership with PCI capable hospitals, ground EMS, and air ambulance in order to get the patient to a cardiac lab where they can undergo PCI in a timely manner. The local EMS agency, ProMed, as well as regional air EMS, work with FRMC on an ongoing basis to improve cardiac care in our region.
-This article was written and submitted by Paula Lewis RNP, ER Trauma Coordinator