HOUSTON (June 02, 2016)

Memorial Hermann Heart & Vascular Institute-Texas Medical Center (HVI) has once again been named an accredited STEMI Receiving Center by the American Heart Association (AHA) and Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care, an elite recognition given to facilities that provide excellent acute cardiac care.

Institute is one of only two hospitals in the Greater Houston area and one of about 60 nationwide to achieve this accreditation which recognizes facilities that meet or exceed quality of care measures for people experiencing the most severe type of heart attack, ST-elevation myocardial infarction, or STEMI.

“This recognition underscores more than 35 years of innovative STEMI care in Houston, after having been one of the first hospitals in the country and the first in Texas to treat heart attack patients with clot busting drugs to stop heart attacks,” said Richard Smalling, MD, interventional cardiologist at HVI and Director of Interventional Cardiovascular Medicine at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. “This honor reinforces the Institute’s role as a leading heart program in Houston and across the nation.”

STEMI heart attacks occur when a blood clot completely blocks an artery to the heart, making them the most deadly forms of heart attacks. To prevent death, doctors must restore blood flow immediately, either by surgically opening the blocked vessel or by administering clot-busting medication.

To become an accredited STEMI Receiving Center, the Institute underwent numerous on-site evaluations to ensure that it met the AHA’s standards for quick and effective treatment of STEMI heart attacks.

As a recipient of the 2016 Mission: Lifeline Receiving Center Silver award, HVI was able to show that it treated at least 36 STEMI patients in a single year, at least three-quarters of whom had door-to-device times no more than 90 minutes; received aspirin within 24 hours of hospital arrival; were prescribed aspirin and/or beta blockers at discharge; were prescribed a statin or lipid lowering drug if they had an LDL cholesterol level greater than 100; and received smoking cessation counseling at discharge if they were smokers, among other criteria.

accreditation process involves a multidisciplinary team approach including clinicians, nursing staff and other employees, and requires close coordination between local EMS responders, Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center’s Emergency Center, the cardiac catheterization lab, cardiac rehab and other departments throughout the hospital.

“Our providers and staff work hard each day to ensure our patients receive high-quality treatment based on the latest, most innovative scientific research,” said Amy Harberg, Vice President of Operations at HVI. “We are honored that the American Heart Association continues to recognize the Institute for our excellent cardiac care and our commitment to continually improving treatment for heart attack patients throughout the Greater Houston area and beyond.”

More than 25,000 Americans each year suffer a STEMI heart attack, according to the AHA. Through its accreditation program, the AHA hopes to reduce cardiac death in patients by teaching the public to recognize and react swiftly to early symptoms of a heart attack, reduce the amount of time it takes to receive life-saving treatment and increase the accuracy and effectiveness of the treatment administered.