New Hanover Regional Medical Center honored with two awards for care of heart patients

December 09, 2011

WILMINGTON — New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s commitment to providing exceptional care to heart attack patients has been recognized with two prestigious awards from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology for the second year in a row.

New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC) has received The American College of Cardiology Foundation’s NCDR Action Registry-GWTG Platinum Performance Achievement Award. NHRMC is one of only 164 hospitals in nation to be given this recognition. The award recognizes New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s success in implementing a higher standard of care for heart attack patients, and signifies that NHRMC’s Heart Center has maintained an aggressive goal of treating these patients to standard levels of care as outlined by the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association clinical guidelines and recommendations.

New Hanover Regional Medical Center has also been awarded the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline Silver Quality Achievement Award for its commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of care for heart attack patients that effectively improves the survival and care of STEMI (ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction) patients. NHRMC was considered on nine quality measures, including whether eligible patients were given reperfusion therapy within the recommended time, whether patients were given aspirin on arrival, and whether patients who smoke were given smoking cessation counseling on discharge. NHRMC was assigned a score on each of the measures and maintained a score of 85 percent or greater over a designated period of time in order to achieve the Silver Quality Achievement designation.

NHRMC’s Code STEMI program works with paramedics and hospitals throughout the region to identify when someone is having a STEMI heart attack so the emergency and cardiac team can be readied at NHRMC and the patient can quickly get to intervention in the cardiac catheterization lab. Getting a patient with a heart attack to treatment quickly is a high priority because when a heart attack begins, it’s only a matter of time before permanent damage is done to the heart muscles. The national benchmark for getting STEMI patients to intervention is 90 minutes. The average time at NHRMC’s Heart Center is 48 minutes.

“We are honored to have received these two awards,” said David Parks, vice president of cardiac services at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. “They recognize the impressive work done by our physicians and staff to continually improve the care we provide our patients. We also appreciate the work of our partners in the region, who have worked with us on standard protocols to ensure every patient gets the care they need when they need it.”

New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s Heart Center is home to 29 cardiologists and 3 cardiovascular surgeons who perform more than 550 surgical procedures and 12,000 diagnostic procedures each year. The NHRMC Heart Center is the only facility in southeastern North Carolina to perform heart surgery and is among the state’s leaders in cardiac care. For more information on the services provided at the NHRMC Heart Center, visit

ACTION Registry–GWTG is a partnership between the American College of Cardiology Foundation and the American Heart Association with partnering support from the American College of Emergency Physicians, Society of Chest Pain Centers and the Society of Hospital Medicine. ACTION Registry-GWTG empowers health care provider teams to consistently treat heart attack patients according to the most current, science-based guidelines and establishes a national standard for understanding and improving the quality, safety and outcomes of care provided for patients with coronary artery disease, specifically high-risk STEMI and NSTEMI patients.

The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program helps hospitals and emergency medical services develop systems of care that follow proven standards and procedures for STEMI patients. The program works by mobilizing teams across the continuum of care to implement American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology clinical treatment guidelines. For more information, visit and