The MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Long Beach Medical Center was ranked 7th out of 35 participating Los Angeles County hospitals for STEMI emergency care – after creating improvements in “Door to Balloon/Device Time” (time of arrival to the ED to opening of the artery). The MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute and Emergency Department teams track treatment times and made significant process improvements to expedite care. The team was focused on reducing the time from hospital arrival to the time to open the occluded vessel (referred to as door to device time) in the cardiac catheterization laboratory. 

“We are constantly tracking time without compromising the health of the patient in cardiac distress. Our staff consistently fires on all cylinders, and we get the patient assessed and moving quickly the second they enter the door,” says Dr. Khiet Hoang, medical director, Emergency Cardiac Services at MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute, Long Beach Medical Center.

STEMI, which stands for ST segment elevation myocardial infarction, is a heart attack causing damage to the heart muscle and is usually recognized on an electrocardiogram (ECG). This injury often leads to weakening of the heart muscle and may result in heart failure.

The first 90 minutes immediately after experiencing chest pains are critical. If a patient is treated within 90 minutes, damage from the attack can be drastically reduced. MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Long Beach Medical Center surpasses the regional average by successfully treating patients within 90 minutes 90% of the time and within 60 minutes 75% of the time.

“In order to achieve this successful ranking, we are continuously fine tuning every step and protocol across all departments in our STEMI program,” says Dr. Hoang. “We are proud of our highly skilled cardiovascular team and STEMI program that is significantly saving the lives of patients daily in our community.”

The STEMI program at Long Beach Medical Center, where an on-call cardiac team is available around the clock, is a carefully designed joint effort that includes paramedic liaisons, emergency room staff, Cath lab staff, cardiologists, and an exclusive specialty cardiovascular nurse coordinator trained in STEMI treatment. As a result, processes are streamlined more efficiently, the patient is moved through each step quicker allowing the patient to spend less time in the emergency room and transported faster to the Cath lab for treatment.

MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Long Beach Medical Center applies a set of comprehensive protocols to its STEMI program. The STEMI Committee meets on an ongoing basis to share information and implement recommended changes. The STEMI Case Review Group also meets consistently to review patient cases, address concerns, and identify opportunities for improvement.