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.
United Regional’s Door-To-Balloon Time
As soon as a patient arrives at our emergency room with heart attack symptoms, caregivers immediately perform an EKG. The EKG is promptly reviewed by the emergency room physician who determines if the patient is experiencing a heart attack.
When confirmed, the ER notifies a team made up of catheterization lab staff, a cardiologist, respiratory technologist, security and the nursing house supervisor. The patient is quickly taken to the 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.
In 2019, United Regional’s average door-to-balloon time is 64 minutes, significantly less than the American Heart Association’s guidelines, which provide for a door-to-balloon time of 90 minutes.
To learn more about heart attack warning signs for men and women, click here.