STEMI protocol: Door-to-balloon saves lives

Published: Apr. 22, 2022 at 4:35 AM CDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio. (Ivanhoe Newswire)- STEMI is the most severe type of heart attack, where every second counts. Now, a newly published study shows that a standardized plan to reduce the time from a patient’s arrival until blood flow is restored to the heart, called door-to-balloon time, can improve survival for all patients.

Every year, three million people have what’s known as STEMI, or ST elevated myocardial infarction. One of the main arteries to the heart is 100 percent blocked.

Dr. Umesh Khot, the Head of Regional Cardiovascular Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic explains, “The heart muscle is dying and it’s important that patients get emergency care to open up the artery as soon as possible.”

Dr. Khot and his colleagues at Cleveland Clinic studied patient outcomes using their protocol for treating STEMI, which included a safe handoff checklist, immediate transfer to a cardiac cath lab, and using an artery in the wrist instead of the groin for safer access to the blockage. The researchers say they wanted to determine the impact the protocol had on patients from lower socioeconomic neighborhoods.

Dr. Khot says, “We know that those patients tend to be higher risk and have a higher risk of dying from this heart attack.”

The researchers found the STEMI protocol greatly improved the chances of in-hospital survival for all patients.

“We saw a significant improvement in how they received medications and how fast they were treated. And ultimately that led to a 60 percent reduction in their chances of dying,” Dr. Khot explains.

Improving heart attack survival overall, regardless of a patient’s zip code.

The study was published late last year in the Journal of the American Heart Association, and Dr. Khot says a number of hospital systems nationwide are now studying the STEMI protocol to see if they can replicate it.

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