Advocate Christ Medical Center Earns 'The Gold' for Heart Care

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Advocate Christ Medical Center gets the "gold" for Olympic-size efforts to treat victims of the most severe type of heart attack.

Our partnership with EMS providers has been a key component in enhancing care for heart attack patients

Advocate Christ Medical Center has earned “the gold” – for its Olympic-size efforts to achieve the highest standard of care for patients who suffer severe heart attacks.

The American Heart Association (AHA) announced that the medical center has qualified for its Mission: Lifetime Gold Level Performance Achievement Award, thanks to the successful efforts of the campus’ clinical teams in improving the survival and care of STEMI patients.

STEMI is an acronym that refers to the deadliest type of heart attack. In a STEMI attack, a patient’s coronary artery becomes completely blocked, causing nearly all of the heart muscle supplied by that artery to begin dying. This damage to heart muscle is characterized by an elevated “ST segment” on an electrocardiogram (ECG). Nearly 250,000 people annually in the United States experience a STEMI-type of attack, but many times they do not receive prompt reperfusion therapy, which is critical to restoring lifesaving blood flow.

Hospitals involved in the AHA’s Mission: Lifeline program are working to improve heart attack care both in acute treatment measures and discharge measures. Systems of care are developed to close the gap to receiving timely, lifesaving treatments. Additionally, before they are discharged, appropriate heart patients are started on aggressive, risk-reduction therapies, such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, aspirin therapy, ACE inhibitors and beta blockers. They also receive smoking cessation counseling.

To earn ‘the gold,’ Christ Medical Center, which is an acknowledged receiving treatment center for STEMI patients, had to demonstrate that, for at least 24 consecutive months, 85 percent or more of eligible STEMI patients (without contraindications) were treated within specific time frames following their arrival at the hospital and were later discharged in accordance with AHA treatment guidelines.

Although regularly achieving the federal gold standard of providing heart-saving treatment to patients within 90 minutes after they arrive at the emergency department, the medical center took major strides to cut the treatment gap even more by making available a single, on-call
cardiologist for all STEMI cases coming through the emergency department. That program, launched in 2010 under the leadership of cardiologist, Paul Silverman MD, has reduced the required time needed to begin re-opening a patient’s blocked artery and preventing further heart damage to 60 minutes or less.

Dr. Silverman also noted the medical center’s partnership with emergency medical services providers (EMS) in surrounding communities as being a key component in enhancing care for heart-attack patients. Specifically, the medical center has equipped some area ambulances with advanced, 12-lead EKG equipment, which indicates whether or not a patient is experiencing a heart attack and allows paramedics to alert a receiving hospital in advance of the patient’s arrival. The campus’ Center for Pre-Hospital Care also has trained many area paramedics in the use of this heart instrumentation.

Announcement of the medical center’s Mission: Lifetime Gold Award comes at about the same time that the medical center achieved inclusion – for the second consecutive year -- on U.S. News & World Report’s annual listing of the nation’s top hospitals for cardiology and heart surgery.

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