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In heart attacks, faster treatments save lives

Published On: Nov 28 2011 10:02:21 AM CST
Updated On: Jul 06 2012 03:07:32 PM CDT
ekg with heart and stethoscope

(NewsUSA) - Studies show that fast treatment makes patients more likely to survive certain types of heart attacks. According to national guidelines, heart attack patients should go from hospital door to "balloon" treatment within 90 minutes.

In 2005, only half of America's hospitals managed 90-minute door-to-balloon (D2B) times. To ensure faster treatment for more patients, the American College of Cardiology (ACC), along with 38 partner organizations, started its Door-to-Balloon Alliance to help participating hospitals lower their D2B times.

The program recently achieved its original ambition -- 75 percent of patients now receive treatment within 90 minutes of entering a hospital. A more recent analysis showed that, with an average D2B time of 80 minutes, hospitals participating in the program surpassed its goals.

"This ambitious effort to improve timeliness of heart attack care has reported marked improvements with the vast majority of patients receiving life-saving care within 90 minutes of hospital arrival, as recommended by clinical guidelines," said Elizabeth H. Bradley, Ph.D., professor at Yale School of Public Health, and lead author of the study.

Hospitals adopted several strategies to reduce D2B times, including creating real-time feedback between emergency departments and cardiologists, encouraging senior management to commit to the cause and creating a team-based approach to patient care.

"The incredible success of the Door-to-Balloon Alliance represents aspects of the best of healthcare delivery in the United States; the integration of the highest medical science, technology and our medical community through the organization and integration of systems of care leading to seamless translation of evidence based medicine into clinical practice," said Ralph Brindis, M.D., president-elect of the ACC. "The ACC and the National Cardiovascular Data Registry (NCDR) are proud to have played a role in this key accomplishment for our nation."

For more information, visit www.acc.org.