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Northwestern Medicine researchers work to improve heart attack response time
Date:4/29/2013

While all heart attacks have the potential to be deadly, one type is referred to as the "widow maker" because of its high risk of death. A ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) is a severe type of heart attack that occurs when a blockage in a coronary artery causes heart muscle to die; without prompt treatment risk of fatality increases dramatically. Coronary angioplasty, or percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), is the most common emergency treatment for STEMI. During this procedure, an interventional cardiologist feeds a deflated balloon into the artery to the blockage where it is then inflated to open the artery and allow blood to flow to the heart muscle. Current clinical guidelines recommend that PCI be performed for STEMI within 90 minutes of the patient entering the hospital this is commonly referred to as door-to-balloon time. Recognizing the potential to save even more lives with expedited treatment, Northwestern Medicine researchers applied performance improvement strategies to lower door-to-balloon times at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, with the goal of creating an approach that could be applied to hospitals across the country. Their findings were published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

"Despite the current recommended 90 minutes, studies show that survival for STEMI patients decreases when door-to-balloon time exceeds 60 minutes," said principal investigator Rahul Khare, MD, assistant director of operations for Northwestern Memorial's emergency department and assistant professor of emergency medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "While some hospitals across the country achieve times under 60 minutes, there's still room for improvement. The objective of our study was to put in place process improvements that would optimize door-to-balloon times not only at Northwestern Memorial, but that could be replicated elsewhere. The goal was to reduce door-to-balloon times to 60 minutes for S
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Contact: Megan McCann
memccann@nmh.org
312-926-5900
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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