U.Va. Health System Honored for Improving Heart Attack Care

September 22, 2014

The University of Virginia Health System has earned a national award from the American College of Cardiology for enhancing care for heart attack patients.

U.Va. is one of just 55 U.S. hospitals to receive the “ACTION Registry-Get With The Guidelines Gold Performance Achievement Award.”

Hospitals receive the award for consistent compliance with performance measures from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association. The standards focus on improving care for patients with a certain type of serious heart attack called a ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction, or STEMI.

Close coordination between U.Va.’s Emergency Department and Heart & Vascular Center is key to providing quality care for patients and earning this award. U.Va.’s STEMI alert process speeds care for patients with this type of heart attack through an on-call STEMI team that can be brought together within 30 minutes.

Over two consecutive years, U.Va. met performance standards for treating STEMIs at least 90 percent of the time, including:

  • Opening the blocked coronary artery in STEMI patients within 90 minutes of first contact with a rescue squad or other emergency medical responders.
  • Providing aspirin to STEMI patients within 24 hours of arrival at the hospital.
  • Prescribing beta blockers, aspirin and cholesterol-lowering medications when releasing STEMI patients from the hospital. 
  • Measuring heart function of STEMI patients before they are released from the hospital.
  • Providing STEMI patients who smoke with counseling on how to quit smoking before they are released from the hospital.

Dr. David R. Burt, an emergency medicine physician and director of the U.Va. Chest Pain Center, credited the dedication and teamwork of a large group in U.Va.’s Emergency Department and Cardiac Catheterization Lab as well as the partnership with local rescue squads.

“Everyone from our doctors and nurses to our scribes are key to providing high-quality care to patients suffering heart attacks as well as consistently seeking ways to improve our care,” Burt said. “Rescue squads from across Central Virginia play an important role as well by alerting us to potential STEMI patients they are transporting.”

Media Contact

Eric Swensen

UVA Health System