Top of Utah hospitals to participate in STEMI program

Jun 13 2012 - 6:01pm

OGDEN -- Some patients having a heart attack may now end up bypassing the emergency room and heading straight to the catheter lab.

Three Top of Utah hospitals have met the requirements to participate in the Utah ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) System as outlined by the Utah Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and the Utah Department of Health.

The three are Ogden Regional Medical Center, Lakeview Hospital and Davis Hospital and Medical Center. That means paramedics can alert the hospital if the patient is having a STEMI heart attack and transport them straight to the catheter lab. 

A STEMI heart attack is a serious, life-threatening form of heart attack, according to the American Heart Association, and is caused by a prolonged period of blocked blood supply. If the ECG shows particular markers, a patient is having a STEMI heart attack. That needs to be recognized and treated as quickly as possible by emergency angioplasty and insertion of stents.

"This is a very time-critical illness," said Robert Jex, specialty care program manager for the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and Preparedness. "With the heart, time is muscle and we have found if you can have a door-to-balloon time of less than 90 minutes, the outcome for the patient is very favorable."

Jex said all Utah hospitals were invited to apply for the designation. McKay-Dee Hospital did not apply, he said.

Hospitals with STEMI designation have procedures, equipment and protocols in place to provide time-critical emergency STEMI care, said Kristy Chambers, trauma services stroke and chest pain coordinator at Ogden Regional Medical Center.

Chambers said such care requires collaboration and communication with EMS agencies. With information provided by an ECG from the field, a cardiology consultation is in progress before the patient arrives at the hospital.

"That communication with the paramedics in the field is extremely important," said Jex. "Some of our hospitals have really great relationships with EMS, but others don't treat them as part of the health care team. We strongly encourage communication between EMS, the hospital and the physicians. It's not only in their best interest but in the patient's best interest as well."

Jex said not all Utah hospitals that applied met the criteria for STEMI designation.

"There's a certain criteria that has to be met and while all of the applying hospitals in Northern Utah met those criteria, other hospitals throughout the state were missing some and are working to meet the requirements."

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