The San Antonio Fire Department has received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline® EMS Silver Award that recognizes its commitment and success in implementing specific quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who suffer a severe heart attack known as a STEMI (ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction).
Every year, almost 300,000 people experience a STEMI, a type of heart attack caused by a complete blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment. To prevent death, it’s critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by surgically opening the blocked vessel or by giving clot-busting medication.
Unfortunately, a significant number don't receive prompt reperfusion therapy, which is critical in restoring blood flow. Mission: Lifeline seeks to save lives by closing the gaps that separate STEMI patients from timely access to appropriate treatments. Mission: Lifeline’s new EMS recognition program recognizes those emergency responders for their efforts in improving STEMI systems of care and improving the quality of life for these patients.
Emergency Medical System providers are vital to the success of Mission: Lifeline. EMS agencies provide education in STEMI identification and access to 12-lead ECG machines and follow protocols derived from American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology guidelines. The correct tools and training allow EMS providers to rapidly identify the STEMI, promptly notify the medical center and trigger and early response from the awaiting hospital personnel.
Agencies that receive the Mission: Lifeline Silver award have demonstrated at least 75 percent compliance for each required achievement measure for the entire year, and treat at least eight STEMI patients for the year.
“We commend the San Antonio Fire Department for this achievement award, which reflects a significant commitment to improve the quality of care for heart attack patients,” said A. Gray Ellrodt, MD, Chair of the Mission: Lifeline committee and Chief of Medicine at the Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, Mass. “All too many heart attack patients in the United States still fail to receive appropriate treatment for their life-threatening condition within the recommended timeframes. We must all continue this important work to streamline and coordinate regional systems of care to save lives and prevent complications.”
“An accomplishment such as this takes great team work across many divisions and a passion for the job we all signed up for,” said SAFD Assistant Chief Yvette Granato, who oversees the department’s EMS Division. “A cardiac event is one of those calls we can, and in light of this award, do make a difference in a patient’s life, let alone in the lives of their families and loved ones.”