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American Heart Association awards Emory hospitals for excellence in heart attack care

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Janet Christenbury

Four Emory Healthcare hospitals and one Emory Healthcare-affiliated hospital are being recognized for their excellence and quality improvements in treating patients who suffer severe heart attacks.

Emory University Hospital, Emory University Hospital Midtown and Emory Johns Creek Hospital have all received the 2015 American Heart Association Mission: Lifeline Gold Receiving Center award. Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital and Southern Regional Medical Center have both achieved the 2015 Mission: Lifeline Bronze Receiving Center award. Two of these hospitals, Emory University Hospital and Emory University Hospital Midtown, were the first hospitals in Georgia to be accredited as Mission: Lifeline Receiving Centers.

The American Heart Association's Mission: Lifeline program's goal is to reduce system barriers to prompt treatment for heart attacks, beginning with a 9-1-1 call and continuing with hospital treatment. The awards recognize each hospital's commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of STEMI (ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction) care by ensuring that STEMI patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations.

Each year in the U.S., approximately 250,000 people have a STEMI caused by a complete blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment. To prevent death, it is critical to immediately restore blood flow, either by opening the blocked vessel with balloon angioplasty and/or stenting, or by giving clot-busting medication.

"Our hospitals have partnered with our EMS colleagues to consistently achieve First Medical Contact to Balloon (FMC2B) times within 90 minutes in 75 percent of STEMI patients for two consecutive years at three of our hospitals, an important accomplishment -- considering that we began partnering with EMS companies to expedite pre-hospital diagnosis of STEMI in the Fall of 2011," says Abhinav Goyal, MD, MHS, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology at Emory, and director of quality for cardiology at Emory Healthcare. "The other two hospitals are making exceptional progress, as well, in meeting their targets."

The Gold Receiving Center award recognizes hospitals for achieving 85 percent or greater overall composite score for all Mission: Lifeline STEMI quality achievement indicators, with no single measure below 75 percent, for consecutive 24-month intervals. The Bronze recognition designates hospitals that have achieved 85 percent or greater overall composite score for all Mission: Lifeline STEMI quality achievement indicators, with no single measure below 75 percent, for consecutive 90-day intervals.

"The recognition that these five hospitals have earned reflects the outstanding STEMI care that is delivered in every setting, including pre-hospital, emergency department, cath lab and inpatient areas," says Michael Ross, MD, professor of emergency medicine, founder and immediate past co-chair of the Atlanta Mission: Lifeline program. "Our health system has clearly emerged as a leader in STEMI care in the greater metro Atlanta area, and a number of our physicians, nurses and allied health staff have leadership positions within Atlanta's STEMI system of care."

For more information on Mission: Lifeline, visit and

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