AKRON, Ohio, March 19, 2012 – As they sit in the intensive care unit and describe their experience, Charlie and Diane Cramer’s voices are filled with relief, and their eyes are filled with love. In a few minutes, Charlie gets to go home and continue recovery after the most severe type of heart attack known in medicine almost took his life.
This is Charlie’s second stay at Summa Akron City Hospital, a follow-up to address less serious heart blockages found when New Franklin paramedics rushed Charlie from his home in Clinton, Ohio, to Summa’s tertiary hospital. Diane had called 911 after hurrying home from work on Feb. 7 to help her husband who believed he was only having a severe case of nausea. When the paramedics arrived, they performed an electrocardiogram to measure the 60-year-old’s heart rhythm and recognized that he was experiencing what’s known as an ST-elevation myocardial infarction, or STEMI, the most severe type of heart attack. The team then notified Summa Akron City Hospital where an emergency physician activated Code STEMI and a carefully orchestrated series of events began.
Code STEMI summoned all necessary emergency and cardiovascular personnel so they would be ready and waiting before Charlie arrived. Back in the ambulance, Charlie was prepped for treatment so he could be hurried to the Cardiac Cath Lab upon arrival at the hospital. In the Cardiac Cath Lab, Interventional Cardiologist Daniel Newton, M.D., and a highly trained team threaded a thin wire with a small inflatable balloon up to Charlie’s heart, opened the blood vessel blockage causing the STEMI, and placed a stent. The life-saving process took a mere 59 minutes from when the paramedics first arrived at his side at home.
Charlie and Diane were high schools sweethearts and have been married for 41 years. Both say it was one of the fastest, scariest days of their lives.
Stories Like This
Stories like this are why Summa Akron City Hospital recently became the first Ohio hospital to receive the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline® Heart Attack Receiving Center Accreditation. The accreditation program — sponsored by the AHA and Society of Chest Pain Centers (SCPC) —recognizes centers that meet or exceed quality of care measures for STEMI victims.
“Time is muscle and muscle is life,” said Kenneth Berkovitz, M.D., chair of Summa Cardiovascular Institute. “By working with local first responders and other local hospitals, we’ve been able to consistently provide lifesaving care at speeds even faster than national recommendations. This results in lives saved and better outcomes for our patients.”
Each year, hundreds of thousands of Americans suffer from STEMIs, in which blood flow is completely blocked to a portion of the heart. Unless the blockage is eliminated quickly, the patient’s health and life are at serious risk. Only 25 percent of hospitals in the country are prepared to provide this care according to the American Heart Association.
Leading up to the Mission: Lifeline® Heart Attack Receiving Center Accreditation were several important milestones at Summa Akron City Hospital.
In 2010, Summa Akron City Hospital received national accreditation as a Chest Pain Center which signifies excellence in the care of all acute coronary syndrome (ACS) patients. In June 2011, Summa Akron City Hospital was recognized for its exemplary care of ACS patients by AHA Mission: Lifeline – which is a prerequisite for accreditation as a Heart Attack Receiving Center.
In 2011, Summa Akron City Hospital announced a new measure of severe heart attack care in concert with local first responders called “EMS to Balloon Time” or E2B. This tracks the speed at which a patient with a STEMI heart attack can be transported from his or her first medical contact to the hospital’s Cardiac Cath Lab. The national recommendation is to offer E2B in 90 minutes, and Summa Akron City Hospital and local EMS are currently providing this care in an average of 73 minutes. The average time from the hospital doors to the Cardiac Cath Lab is a rapid 44 minutes.
Summa Akron City Hospital is also a Level I Trauma Center and a Certified Stroke Center.
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.