Ministry ERMH and HYMC rate high in helping to prevent heart attack

Ministry Eagle River Memorial Hospital (MERMH) and Howard Young Medical Center (HYMC) are pleased to announce they have reached top quality performance in managing patients with Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI).

According to the September 2010 Annual Hospital Quality Alliance (HQA) report, MERMH and HYMC perform better than state and national averages when treating AMI patients following best practice guidelines. HQA, associated with the American Heart Association, reports on an annual basis and compares quality indicators for hospitals across the nation. The HQA is a national public-private collaboration that is committed to making meaningful, relevant, and easily understood information about hospital performance accessible to the public and to informing and encouraging efforts to improve quality.

According to the American Heart Association, someone dies from heart and blood vessel diseases every 36 seconds. Coronary Heart Disease kills about 452,000 individuals each year.

A heart attack occurs when the blood flow to a part of the heart is blocked (often by a blood clot). This happens because coronary arteries that supply the heart with blood slowly become thicker and harder from a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances, called plaque. If the plaque breaks open and a blood clot forms that blocks the blood flow, a heart attack occurs, and the heart muscle supplied by that artery begins to die. Damage increases the longer an artery stays blocked. Once that muscle dies, the result is permanent heart damage.

Given the long term damaging effects of a heart attack it is imperative health care providers act quickly to diagnosis and treat patients encountering heart attack symptoms. Research indicates there are interventions that should be taken as soon as possible once the patient arrives in the hospital. Upon arrival to the emergency department the patient can expect to be immediately triaged by a nurse, placed on oxygen, have an EKG performed, an IV started, and receive specific medications administered as appropriate.

In the 2010 Annual HQA report it shows 100 percent of patients arriving at MERMH and HYMC received these interventions.

“Our publically reported statistics demonstrate our commitment to you, the patient,” said Sheila Clough, President, Ministry Howard Young Health Care.

When the patient is diagnosed with a heart attack the emergency department staff work diligently to transfer the patient for immediate treatment such as cardiac catheterization, angioplasty, stent placement, or open heart surgery.

“Patients that will have a delay in transfer or the transfer will take longer than 90 minutes are given clot busting medications to improve the blood flow to the heart muscle, within 20 minutes, on average, of their arrival,” said Roderick Brodhead, MD, Emergency Department Medical Director, Ministry Eagle River Memorial Hospital and Howard Young Medical Center. “Patients who receive the appropriate care at the appropriate time suffer less heart damage and suffer less debilitating outcomes such as congestive heart failure or irregular heart rhythms.”

MERMH and HYMC pride themselves on providing the right care at the right time.

“Our staff takes great pride and is diligent in following best practices to assure heart muscle is saved when a person suffers a heart attack,” said Clough. “I am proud of the ongoing work and dedication of the staff in assuring that patients are receiving excellent care.”

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