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Over the years, Mercy has played a major role in transforming care for victims of heart attack in central Iowa.
In 2004, Mercy collaborated with community hospitals and emergency medical response (EMS) teams to implement the Level 1 Heart Attack Protocol – a program designed to reduce the time to treatment for rural Iowans who suffer from heart attacks and cannot quickly access the level of treatment often offered only in urban areas.
Fast action saves lives
The Level 1 Heart Attack Protocol begins when a patient with acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) arrives at a community hospital, such as Newton, Grinnell, Centerville or Boone. After evaluating and stabilizing the patient, the community emergency department declares a Level 1 heart attack. Coordination immediately begins on a number of different fronts. Trained personnel, who understand that fast response is essential to aid recovery, coordinate emergency transportation and promptly arrange with air or ground crews for the quick transport of the patient.
The Level 1 team at Mercy begins work immediately. Before the patient even arrives, admission staff complete registration information based on data submitted by the community hospital to ensure a bed is available. Designated nurses work closely with key hospital departments to share patient information such as intubation, cardiac arrest, interpreter requirement and changes in patient status. A full cath lab team are prepared to act when the patient arrives.
Patients are moved from the helicopter or ambulance directly to the cardiac cath lab, where the team is standing by. The treatment goal is to direct angioplasty/stenting within the national goal of 90 minutes or less from the time the patient arrives at their local emergency department to balloon inflation at the Mercy cath lab; Mercy’s average time is 55 minutes.
Today, 24 hospitals participate in the in the protocol and more than 1,000 patients have benefited from the program.