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Press Room

Summa Announces New Measure of Care for the Most Severe Heart Attacks

11.22.2011
Contact: Jennifer Farquhar, Phone: (330) 375-4930

AKRON, Ohio, Nov. 21, 2011 – Since 2007, patients arriving at Summa Akron City Hospital with the most severe form of heart attack (STEMI) received care at speeds faster than national standards. Now, patients can count on this lifesaving speed from their first contact with paramedics, and people like Richard Loesch, 71 of Green, are alive because of it.

Time is muscle and muscle is life, and when a person has a type of severe heart attack called STEMI, national guidelines say he or she should receive emergency care to treat the blockage within 90 minutes of entering hospital doors. From January through June, physicians and staff at Summa Akron City Hospital were able to provide this care within an average of 49 minutes, and the hospital has met the national guidelines at progressively faster speeds for the past four years. For this reason, physicians and staff began looking for a new benchmark that could improve patient survivorship.

“The hospital was consistently providing STEMI care faster than the 90 minute measure, so we partnered with local EMS to see if we could beat the clock from the point when they first reach the patient,” Emergency Physician Francis Mencl, M.D., said. “It’s reassuring to families to know that in an emergency, a rapid sequence of people working together will get their loved ones to the right care, at the right time, from the right specialist.”

Today, Summa Akron City Hospital and local paramedics are taking STEMI to the next level by clocking treatment times from a patient’s first point of contact with EMS at home or in the community. For the first half of this year, the team’s average time was 72 minutes, well within the 90 minute window that’s required for care only within a hospital. This achievement reflects a movement to raise the bar among hospitals and paramedics countrywide, which could occur under national standards before the year ends.

The team achieved its STEMI speed in part by providing special training to regional paramedics to help first responders better recognize various heart rhythms and communicate details to the emergency department. The hospital also has a “Code STEMI” response team. Richard Loesch is alive because of the speed with which the Green paramedics worked with Summa Akron City Hospital to wirelessly transmit his EKG and activate Code STEMI.

 “When the paramedics arrived, I had mostly anxiety, sweating and general disorientation,” Loesch said. “But I didn’t have the pain that I would have normally expected with a heart attack. It started to build slowly. When I got to the hospital, there was significant pain in my left arm and in my heart. A large number of people were waiting for me. They put the stent in, and it wasn’t too long after that things started improving rapidly.”

The timeframe within the hospital has been called “Door-to-Balloon time,” or D2B, and Summa calls the new measure “EMS-to-Balloon time,” or E2B, to reflect patient care in the field. STEMI treatment involves a balloon inserted into the heart via cardiac catheter to eliminate the blockage and restore blood flow. Often, the interventional cardiologist performing the treatment also places stents.

In total, Loesch’s E2B time was 65 minutes, and his D2B time was 33 minutes – both far under the 90 minute recommended time for D2B. Based on time, Summa Akron City Hospital’s Code STEMI team performs higher than the 90th percentile of hospitals nationwide.

Key measures for Summa Akron City Hospital include:

Summa Akron City Hospital

Definition

First Half 2011

Average Door-to-Balloon time (D2B time)

Time elapsed from when a patient enters through the hospital doors

49 minutes and above the 90th percentile nationwide
The national standard is 90 minutes

Average EMS-to-Balloon time (E2B time)

Time elapsed from a patient’s first medical contact in the field

72 minutes
Not yet a national requirement

Summa Akron City Hospital is a Level I Trauma Center, Accredited Chest Pain Center and Accredited Stroke Center. For more information on Summa’s emergency network or Summa Cardiovascular Institute, visit summahealth.org.

About Summa Health System
Summa Health System is one of the largest integrated healthcare delivery systems in Ohio. Encompassing a network of hospitals, community health centers, a health plan, a physician-hospital organization, a multi-specialty physician organization, research and multiple foundations, Summa is nationally renowned for excellence in patient care and for exceptional approaches to healthcare delivery. Summa's clinical services are consistently recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (Magnet status), U.S. News and World Report, Thomson Reuters and The Leapfrog Group. Summa also is a founding partner of the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron. For more information, visit www.summahealth.org or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/summahealth and Twitter at www.twitter.com/summahealth.