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News Release
Mercy honored with AHA’s prestigious “From the Heart” award

February 16, 2008

Mercy was recognized for its Level 1 Heart Attack Protocol by the American Heart Association (AHA) at the organization’s 15th Annual Greater Des Moines Heart Ball. The AHA honored Mercy with its prestigious “From the Heart” award, which is presented to individuals and organizations that demonstrate outstanding volunteer service to their community.

Mercy first implemented its Level 1 Heart Attack Protocol in 2004 in response to the number of rural Iowans who suffered heart attacks without timely access to the emergency treatment they needed to survive. Because rapid cardiac catheterization is critical to preventing heart muscle damage, and because many community hospitals are not equipped with cath labs, Mercy worked with a number of emergency service providers and community hospitals to develop a procedure to safely and quickly transport heart attack patients to Mercy.

As soon as a heart attack patient arrives at one of the 24 participating affiliate hospitals, that hospital alerts Mercy’s Level 1 team and begins faxing crucial information – including the patient’s history, lab work and details Mercy’s cardiology team will need to admit the individual. By the time the patient arrives at Mercy’s Emergency Department – typically in less than 90 minutes – he or she is able to bypass the emergency room and go directly to the cath lab for treatment. Thanks to this streamlined system, the average time to primary coronary intervention (PCI) for Mercy patients is among the best in the nation, averaging just 55 minutes.

The team, which is led by Dr. Mark Tannenbaum, interventional cardiologist with the Iowa Heart Center, includes staff from Admitting, Dispatch and Pastoral Care, as well as from the Emergency Department, Cath Lab and Coronary Care Unit. To date, more than 1,000 heart attack patients from throughout central Iowa have benefitted from the life-saving protocol.

“We are honored to be recognized for Mercy’s Level 1 Heart Attack Protocol,” said Dave Vellinga, Mercy President & CEO. “The award not only acknowledges the great work of our physicians, nurses and staff, but it also reflects Mercy’s commitment to provide health care excellence to the patients and communities we serve.”

Contact Gregg Lagan
Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines

515-247-3050
cell 515-490-6636



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