When Every Minute Counts

Mildred Hines entered the doors of Fairfield Medical Center, and within 27 minutes, had had her heart procedure in the cardiac catheterization lab. The national standard is 90 minutes.

Mildred was suffering from ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI)—a type of heart attack. During a STEMI, every minute matters.“A STEMI is essentially either no coronary blood flow or slow blood flow where a clot has formed,” said Dr. Jeremy Buckley, interventional cardiologist at FMC and chair of the Gordon B. Snider Cardiovascular Institute. “The longer you go without blood flow, the longer your heart goes without oxygen. Heart muscle dies without oxygen. The quicker you re-establish blood flow, the better chance of survival and lower the risk of heart failure, recurrent heart attacks and strokes the patient will have.”

At the time of her heart attack, Hines was at her doctor’s office for a routine appointment. While with her doctor, she passed out. She was breathing but unresponsive. An electrocardiogram (EKG) at the facility revealed it was her heart.

When Hines arrived at FMC, she was taken straight to the cardiac catheterization lab. When a STEMI patient is being transported to FMC, a STEMI alert is called, notifying the STEMI team a patient is on the way. The patient arrives at the hospital and bypasses the Emergency Department, saving precious time.

“At Fairfield Medical Center, we have put a series of protocols in place to speed patients from point A to point B—with point B being the cath lab,” said Dr. Buck- ley, who was recently selected as co-chair of Ohio Mission: Lifeline®, which focuses on pre-hospital treatment protocols for STEMI and other heart attack patients. Fairfield Medical Center was recently awarded the prestigious Ohio Mission: Lifeline Bronze Performance Achievement Award for commitment to high-quality care for heart attack patients and decreasing the time in which these patients receive treatment across the state of Ohio. To read more about this award, click here.

Dr. Buckley performed Hines’ heart catheterization and balloon angioplasty, a procedure where a thin balloon-tipped catheter is inserted into the blocked artery and blown up to relieve the blockage and re-establish blood flow.

Mildred’s daughter, Tammie Barker, has a hard time remembering what happened the night of her mother’s heart attack. She says everything happened so quickly that it’s kind of a blur. “If it wasn’t for the team being so quick during my mother’s heart attack, I don’t think she’d be here right now,” Barker said. “From what I was told, there is no heart damage. If they hadn’t been so quick, she would have heart damage.”

Because Hines was at a doctor’s office, she was able to get an EKG immediately. Because time is critical during a heart attach for good outcomes, Fairfield Medical Center recently purchased remote EKG receiving stations so emergency medical services can send EKGs directly to the emergency department at FMC – saving precious minutes.

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