Every year nearly 400,000 people experience a heart attack. When a heart attack strikes it is critical that blood flow be restored to the heart in a timely manner.
Ninety minutes is the standard of care for what is called the 'door to balloon time'. This amount of time - opening a blocked artery within 90 minutes - is considered the highest standard of care, or the golden opportunity, for the best possible outcomes.
What is the Mission Lifeline Program?
To help expedite the care for cardiac patients, the American Heart Association established the Mission Lifeline program. Mission Lifeline helps medical centers, such as McLeod who are equipped with the expertise and resources to administer care for heart attack patients, to close the gaps that separate these patients from timely access to appropriate treatments. To achieve this, the capabilities of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and those medical centers, who are not equipped for cardiac care need to be leveraged for the optimal treatment of heart attack patients. By working together under a shared set of guidelines the professionals within a cardiac system of care can save lives and improve the health of the communities they serve.
Debbie Whisenhunt - Cardiology Outreach Director
To support the American Heart Association in their efforts, McLeod promoted Debbie Whisenhunt, RN to the position of Cardiology Outreach Director. As the Cardiology Outreach Director, Whisenhunt's responsibility will be to work with area hospitals and EMS to assure that heart attack patients receive appropriate and timely treatment when they present to a cardiac referral facility such as McLeod or contact the 911 systems and receive care through an EMS provider.
"The American Heart Association's Mission Lifeline is a national initiative to advance the systems of care with heart attack patients," said Whisenhunt. "The goal of the initiative is to reduce mortality and morbidity for heart attack patients and improve their overall quality of care. My role is to engage referring hospitals and patient transport providers with each other in order to gain better understanding of ideal systems and care strategies and practices for heart attack patients based on national recommendations."