Gold Level Heart Attack Care Honors for 8 Consecutive Years

The American Heart Association's Mission: Lifeline® – ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) heart attack care STEMI Receiving Center – Gold award has been awarded to UConn Health and its John Dempsey Hospital for the eighth year in a row.

(Photo by Janine Gelineau)

The American Heart Association for the eighth year in a row has recognized UConn Health and its John Dempsey Hospital with a gold level award for its rapid, lifesaving heart attack care.

The high honor for excellence is called the Mission: Lifeline® – ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) heart attack care STEMI Receiving Center – Gold award.

STEMI, the deadliest type of heart attack, is caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment. To prevent death, it is critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by mechanically opening the blocked vessel or by providing clot-busting medication.

The Mission: Lifeline Receiving Hospital recognition showcases hospitals like UConn Health for quickly restoring a patient’s proper blood flow to the heart from STEMIs 24/7. The AHA also applauds UConn Health for continuously implementing quality improvement measures that ensure cardiovascular patients receive efficient and coordinated care, ultimately leading to more lives saved.

“Thank you for applying the most up-to-date evidence-based treatment guidelines to improve patient care and outcomes in the community you serve,” reads the 2022 quality achievement award certificate from AHA’s CEO Nancy Brown and AHA President Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, MD.

“Congratulations to the Cardiology, ED and EMS team that helped us win our 8th consecutive Mission: Lifeline STEMI Gold Award, more than anyone in the state,” shared Peter Canning, EMS Coordinator for UConn John Dempsey Hospital, who has been instrumental in enhancing and speeding the STEMI heart attack patient care process.

“Congratulations to our hospital STEMI team and everyone from our Calhoun Cardiology Center and Emergency Department!  We are proud of you,” said Dr. Bruce Liang, interim CEO at UConn Health.

“Congratulations to the entire team at John Dempsey Hospital on this very well-deserved honor,” said Caryl Ryan, RN, chief operating officer at UConn John Dempsey Hospital.

UConn John Dempsey Hospital staff are on call 24/7 to treat STEMI heart attack patients with lifesaving care at a moment’s notice inside the cardiac catheterization lab at UConn Health’s Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center. The on-call multidisciplinary team includes paramedics, Emergency Department personnel, Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory staff, interventional cardiac specialists, physicians, nurses, EMTs, staff, telephone operators, and administrators.

For example, if ambulance paramedics suspect a patient is having a STEMI heart attack based on an electrocardiogram test (EKG), a STEMI Alert is radioed immediately to UConn John Dempsey Hospital from the patient’s home or location to activate the Emergency Department and the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory to be prepared to treat the heart attack patient. Even if it is in the middle of the night, on-call staff will be at the ready to care for the patient.

Once a STEMI patient arrives at UConn John Dempsey Hospital’s ED they are swiftly taken to the Cardiac Cath Lab for a lifesaving minimally invasive procedure known as a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) to open any narrowed or blocked coronary arteries. UConn Health’s interventional cardiology team is well-known for their pioneering use of minimally invasive cardiac interventions through a patient’s wrist artery rather than via traditional groin artery access.

Mission: Lifeline helps ensure the care provided to patients is aligned with the latest research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence. STEMI Receiving Centers earn Gold recognition for achieving 75% or higher compliance on all Mission: Lifeline STEMI Receiving Center quality achievement measures and 85% or higher composite adherence to all Mission: Lifeline STEMI Receiving Center quality achievement indicators and 50% performance for “arrival at first hospital to PCI” in ≤120 minutes for transfer patients for at least two consecutive year interval to improve the quality of care for STEMI patients.