UConn John Dempsey Hospital Honored for Excellent Heart Attack Care

Dr. Michael Azrin and team in the Cath Lab.
Dr. Michael Azrin leading his team in the Cardiac Cath Lab of the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center at UConn Health (UConn Health/Lauren Woods).

UConn John Dempsey Hospital has been recognized by the American Heart Association for its continued excellence in heart attack patient care. It was honored with the new AHA’s Mission: Lifeline Heart Attack Receiving Center Accreditation.

This recognizes UConn John Dempsey Hospital for its fast, high quality, and lifesaving care of heart attack patients, especially those experiencing ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). This is the most life-threatening heart attack. It occurs when blood flow to a portion of the heart is completely blocked. Unless the blockage is removed quickly, the patient’s heart muscle begins to die, and their health and life are in serious danger.

“UConn John Dempsey Hospital’s multifaceted team including paramedics, Emergency Department personnel, Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory staff, and interventional cardiac specialists are on standby 24/7 to offer patients lifesaving heart attack care and treatments at a moment’s notice,” says Dr. Michael Azrin, director of cardiac catheterization and interventional cardiology at UConn Health’s Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center.

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 to 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 are well-known for their pioneering use of minimally invasive cardiac interventions through a patient’s wrist artery rather than via traditional groin artery access.

“Thanks to our paramedics, we have been able to extend our hospital care into a patient’s home where treatment begins and our cardiac specialists are mobilized even before the patient is loaded into the ambulance,” says Peter Canning, the EMS/STEMI coordinator for UConn Health. “It is a seamless team effort that results in saving heart muscle and improving the resulting quality of life for many in our community.”

This June UConn John Dempsey Hospital will also receive the Gold Plus Mission: Lifeline STEMI Receiving Center award, its fifth gold level honor from the AHA for heart attack care.

Also, this May the AHA and the American Stroke Association recognized UConn Health and UConn John Dempsey Hospital for its high quality and fast stroke patient care. It received the highest level stroke award known as the 2019 Get with the Guidelines Stroke Gold Plus and Target Stroke Elite Plus award.


For more information about the AHA’s Mission: Lifeline visit: www.heart.org/missionlifeline.