At Doylestown Hospital, responding to a heart attack is a team effort. Our team includes physicians, nurses, cardiovascular specialists, therapists and administrators. Each member of the team has a clearly defined role and makes meaningful contributions to the care of our heart attack patients.
As a result, Doylestown Hospital is ranked #2 in the United States for 30-day heart attack mortality, as reported by the federal government (July 2012). Also, patients experiencing a heart attack are more likely to survive at Doylestown Hospital than any other hospital in Pennsylvania (2012).
The treatment process begins with the patient's phone call to 911 and includes EMS (emergency medical services) personnel who can transmit EKGs and start treatment (when appropriate) right from the ambulance. An EKG is a simple test that records the electrical activity of the heart. Thanks to innovations in technology, Doylestown emergency physicians can receive EKG results to determine if a heart attack is occurring-and start the chain of treatment even before the patient arrives in the ER.
The chain continues in our accredited Woodall Chest Pain Center as physicians and nurses in our ER further assess and stabilize the patient while a team of specialists rapidly assembles in the catheterization lab. The goal has been to minimize the "door-to-balloon" time, which dramatically increases the likelihood of an outstanding outcome.
Heart attack patients who call 911 have a shorter door-to-balloon time (measured from the moment a patient arrives at the hospital to the time his or her blocked coronary artery is opened in the cath lab), and that saves lives. At Doylestown Hospital, the average door-to-balloon (D2B) time is 54 minutes (2012), compared to the national standard of 90 minutes. Studies show EKG transmission from the field can cut up to 15 minutes off D2B. IMPORTANT: The chain of treatment needs to start with the 911 call.
The team at The Richard A. Reif Heart Institute of Doylestown Hospital is recognized nationally as a leader in primary (emergency) angioplasty, the treatment of choice to open blocked coronary arteries during a heart attack to restore normal blood flow. The sooner doctors can restore blood flow and oxygen to the affected area of the heart, the less damage there will be to the heart muscle, and the better a patient's chances of survival.
The "balloon" referred to here is used in a procedure called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). Also known as angioplasty, PCI involves threading a catheter (via an artery in the arm or leg) through the circulatory system up to the blocked blood vessel in the heart. Once the tip of the catheter reaches the site of the blockage, an interventional cardiologist puts a tiny balloon in place and inflates it, pushing aside the obstruction and restoring blood flow. Research has shown that emergency PCI is by far the best treatment for a type of heart attack known as ST elevation MI (STEMI for short), which occurs when a blood vessel is completely blocked.
The follow-up care patients receive in The Heart Institute's specialized cardiac care units completes the process and ensures a high recovery rate among heart attack patients. Many patients go on to complete the Cardiac Rehab program at Doylestown Hospital. Studies show that patients who complete 36 sessions of cardiac rehab lower the chance of another cardiac event and mortality by 30 to 50%.