Wheeling Hospital Again Earns National Recognition for Treating Heart Attacks

Shown with the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline STEMI Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award given to Wheeling Hospital are, from left, Jessica Porter, nurse manager; Susie Fullerton, Chest Pain Center coordinator; Tonia Scammell, quality data; Cindy Keely, West Virginia director, Quality and Systems Improvement, AHA; Heather Merkel, director of emergency trauma services; Chris Coffield, director of cardiac imaging; and Tish Holden, quality coordinator, Mission Lifeline regional team coordinator. The award is based on meeting specific quality improvement measures for treating patients who have heart attacks.

Wheeling Hospital again has been recognized as one of the best facilities in the United States for its fast and effective treatment of the most deadly type of heart attack, a STEMI (ST Elevated Acute Myocardial Infarction).

For the sixth consecutive year, the hospital earned the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline STEMI Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award is based on meeting specific quality improvement measures outlined by the AHA for treating patients who have heart attacks.

To achieve STEMI Gold Plus, Wheeling Hospital achieved 85 percent or higher composite adherence on all Mission: Lifeline performance achievement indicators for two years.

“To be successful at this level of care takes a commitment by hospital administration, physicians, nurses and other professional staff to provide high-quality STEMI care,” said Cynthia Keely, the association’s quality improvement director in West Virginia.

Those procedures include restoring blood flow to blocked arteries in heart attack patients coming directly to the hospital or by transfer from another medical facility. Wheeling Hospital’s Cardiac Catheterization Lab is the only facility in Ohio, Marshall, Wetzel and Belmont counties that opens calcium-blocked cardiac arteries with balloon angioplasty and keeps them open by inserting stents.

“This success is what this award is all about,” Wheeling Hospital CEO Douglass Harrison said. “It’s our patients with better outcomes, having a better quality of life. It’s about every single one of our team giving their time and dedication, and sustaining a mission and a level of commitment to quality for every patient, every time.”

Mission: Lifeline was created to help ensure prompt, evidence-based care for STEMI patients. The award recognizes Wheeling Hospital’s commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of care for such patients experiencing this type of profoundly life-threatening emergency.

Among the cath lab’s registered nurses and radiologic technologists are interventional cardiologists Drs. Adel Frenn, Deepak Hooda, Triston Smith and Gregory Suero. Wheeling Hospital also is an AHA-Certified Heart Attack Receiving Center and an Accredited Chest Pain Center with PCI (percutaneous coronary intervention) and Resuscitation.

According to the American Heart Association, each year in the United States approximately 250,000 people have a STEMI, caused by a complete blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment.

To prevent death, it’s critical to immediately restore blood flow, either by surgically opening the blocked vessel or by giving clot-busting medication. The program’s goal is to streamline systems of care to quickly get heart attack patients from the first 911 call to hospital treatment.

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