Study: Hospitals Identify Best Practices for Heart Attack Treatment

Partnerships between hospitals and emergency medical services that are designed to quickly treat patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction have identified several best practices, according to a study in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

National guidelines suggest healthcare entities should form a system to rapidly diagnose and treat STEMIs. The researchers defined a STEMI system as "an integrated group of separate entities focused on reperfusion therapy for STEMI within a geographic region that included at least one hospital that performs percutaneous coronary intervention and at least one emergency medical service agency." The researchers surveyed these systems from April 2008 to January 2010. Three-hundred eighty-one systems, including 899 PCI hospitals in 47 states, responded to the survey.

Some of the practices of the systems include the following:

•    Ninety-seven percent of systems accepted STEMI patients at PCI hospitals regardless of bed availability.
•    Ninety-two percent of respondents could activate the catheterization lab with a single phone call.
•    Eighty-seven percent of systems allowed emergency department physicians to activate the cath lab without consulting with cardiology.
•    Seventy-eight percent of respondents had prehospital activation of the cath lab through emergency department notification without cardiology notification.
•    Eighty-four percent of systems participated in a data registry.

The authors concluded that the survey findings can be used as a benchmark for existing systems and healthcare organizations developing STEMI systems.

More Articles on Hospital Cardiology:

Report: Nearly 45% of Cath Lab Staff Say Volume Was Biggest Challenge in 2011
Ideas and Concepts to Improve Cardiovascular Program Profitability

Acquiring Physicians, Cardiology Practices: Key Concepts to Consider

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