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August 22, 2017

Fast, Quality Heart Attack Care Earns UVA Two National Awards

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For providing prompt, high-quality care for patients suffering heart attacks, University of Virginia Health System has received two national awards from the American Heart Association (AHA).

UVA received the Mission: Lifeline STEMI Receiving Center – Bronze Plus achievement award and the Mission: Lifeline NSTEMI – Silver achievement award from the AHA for meeting national standards to improve care and outcomes for heart attack patients.

AHA guidelines include quickly restoring blood flow to blocked arteries during a heart attack; providing counseling on how to quit smoking; providing recommended medications; evaluating how well patients’ hearts are functioning following a heart attack; and referring patients to a cardiac rehabilitation program.

“These two awards highlight the excellent teamwork both at UVA and across the region to provide excellent care for our patients,” said David R. Burt, MD, director of the UVA Chest Pain Center.

When caring for heart attack patients, the UVA Heart and Vascular Center, Emergency Department and Pharmacy work closely with emergency medical service providers from across Central Virginia to provide fast, coordinated care.

Arriving patients are seen at the Chest Pain Center inside the Emergency Department for assessment. If treatment is needed, UVA has five specialized procedure rooms for heart attack patients. When patients are ready for discharge, UVA provides cardiac rehabilitation as well as a Heart Attack Recovery Clinic, where patients are scheduled for a follow-up visit one week after leaving the hospital.

Outcomes from January-December 2016, the most recent timeframe with available data, show the benefits of this teamwork for patients with a serious type of heart attack called an ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). During this period, the median time for STEMI patients to have their blocked heart arteries reopened after arriving at the UVA Emergency Department was 48 minutes – placing UVA in the top 10 percent nationally.

“Our physicians and a multidisciplinary team across UVA are always seeking ways to enhance the care we provide our heart attack patients,” said Pamela M. Sutton-Wallace, chief executive officer of UVA Medical Center. “These awards showcase their commitment to our patients.”

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