A common phrase used during many cardiac events is “time is muscle.” Every minute of delay in treating a heart attack increases the likelihood and the amount of cardiac muscle damage due to oxygen deprivation.
In 2006, the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association introduced a “door-to-balloon” standard of 90 minutes or less. The clock starts ticking for door-to-balloon measurement when the patient enters the emergency room with symptoms of a heart attack and concludes when the patient is in the cardiac catheterization lab and the “balloon” has been inflated in the blocked artery to open it and restore blood flow.
To ensure that patients receive the highest quality of cardiac care, United Regional adopted the same standard and follows this protocol:
Medical providers in our Emergency Department (ED) begin tests such as an EKG and lab work on the patient. Once the ED physician determines the patient is experiencing a heart attack, the cardiac catheterization lab staff is notified as well as a cardiologist, respiratory therapy, and the house nursing supervisor, along with a security officer, who helps ensure fast and safe patient transport.
The patient is then taken to the cardiac catheterization lab where the team inserts a catheter guidewire to the location where an artery is blocked. The balloon is inflated, returning blood flow to the heart and decreasing the likelihood of more damage.
Door-to-balloon is the time measured from when a patient enters the emergency room with symptoms of a heart attack to when the patient is in the cardiac catheterization lab and the “balloon” has been inflated in the blocked artery to open it and restore blood flow.
National Standard for Door-to-Balloon Time is 90 Minutes
In 2016, United Regional averaged a door-to-balloon time of 60 minutes, significantly better than the national standard of 90 minutes
To learn more about heart attack warning signs for men and women, click here.