American Heart Association sets standards for heart attack care

To help distinguish hospitals that consistently meet or exceed strict levels of care, the American Heart Association evaluates their outcomes and processes against a set of measures that are revised annually.

If someone is having chest pain, it’s time to get to the best hospital for heart attack treatment. But aren’t all hospitals equipped to treat a heart attack? Yes, and getting treatment right away is the most important thing, so call 911.

Some hospitals have better outcomes than others and are able to reach those benchmarks year after year. To help distinguish hospitals that consistently meet or exceed strict levels of care, the American Heart Association (AHA) evaluates their outcomes and processes.

Those include standards of performance that are updated annually. The standards require quick and appropriate treatment with emergency procedures that restore blood flow in blocked arteries.

Norton Healthcare hospitals receive 2021 Mission Lifeline: Gold Plus STEMI/Chest Pain Receiving Center recognition

The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program aims to reduce barriers to prompt treatment for heart attacks, beginning with the 911 call, to emergency medical services transport and continuing through hospital treatment and discharge. The initiative provides tools, training and other resources to support heart attack care, following protocols from the most recent evidence-based treatment guidelines.

One type of heart attack, called an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), completely blocks blood flow through a major artery. That makes speedy care even more critical.

To deliver the fastest possible care, Norton Heart & Vascular Institute collaborated with other health care providers, emergency medical services, air transport providers and others to deliver the fastest possible care and formed the first regional STEMI network in Kentucky.

One call mobilizes the entire team, with a goal of opening a blocked artery within 90 minutes after the patient seeks medical help.

AHA’s Mission: Lifeline program was developed by system improvement experts from across the U.S. and is focused on supporting hospitals, EMS agencies and their communities to form and improve collaborative, efficient and effective systems of care.

The Mission: Lifeline recognitions are broken into three categories: Bronze, silver and gold with the opportunity for hospitals to get a “plus” designation on each measure if they exceed AHA benchmarks for two or more years in a row. The AHA also recognizes hospitals that are ready to accept patients from hospitals that aren’t equipped to provide certain levels of heart attack care.


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