April 13, 2011
Patients May Benefit from Procedures to Rapidly Treat Certain Heart Attacks
Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center was awarded a designation of Cardiac Interventional Center by the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS). This important designation permits Johns Hopkins Bayview to receive critically ill heart attack patients transported by EMS providers so that these patients can be given medications, catheter-based coronary intervention techniques and other cardiac care in a skilled facility.
Designating specialty centers to treat heart attack patients is a nationwide initiative supported by the American Heart Association, which suggests that many more people could potentially survive cardiac arrest if regional systems of cardiac resuscitation were established.
As part of this designation process, Johns Hopkins Bayview underwent rigorous reviews and met strict criteria. With this newly-established designation in place in Maryland, EMS providers transport patients with severe heart attacks directly to Cardiac Interventional Centers, instead of to the closest hospital.
Nisha Chandra-Strobos, M.D., chair of cardiology at Johns Hopkins Bayview, says, “Teams from our emergency department, cardiac intensive care unit and catheterization laboratory worked together to create and implement procedures so that we are able to immediately care for heart attack patients. These procedures, and our quality control measures, allowed us to be awarded this important designation as a Cardiac Interventional Center.”
Explains Dr. Chandra-Strobos, the entire care process was reviewed by MIEMSS during a site visit, where trained inspectors examined the facilities, equipment, policies, procedures and more including the emergency department, catheterization laboratory, cardiac intensive care unit and discharge processes.
Most importantly, the Medical Center’s “door to balloon” time was considered. "Door-to-balloon" time refers to the number of minutes from when a patient arrives at the hospital until inflation of the balloon catheter in a blocked artery. It is an important number because the shorter the time, the better the survival rate for people having heart attacks. The Cardiac Interventional Center designation requires that the “door to balloon” time is 90 minutes or less in at least seventy-five percent of all cases, and Hopkins Bayview substantially exceeds that standard.
For Baltimoreans, it is important that hospitals have the ability to provide these services to heart attack patients. Rapid, efficient treatment is essential to surviving a heart attack and preserving heart muscle function. Having a local hospital with this special designation directly impacts the many patients with heart attacks who will benefit from the established, tested care procedures and experienced health care providers who are ready to serve them.