NHRMC Receives American Heart Association's Mission: Lifeline EMS Gold Plus Recognition Award

June 11, 2018

New Hanover Regional Medical Center EMS and Airlink/Vitalink Critical Care Transport have received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline® EMS Gold Plus Award for implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks.

New Hanover Regional Medical Center continually strives to find ways of cutting heart attack treatment times to give patients the best chance at a full recovery. NHRMC’s medical contact to artery open time was 74, minutes which is less than the national standard median time of 90 minutes. The team also averaged 90 minutes for patients transferred from a referring hospital for medical contact to artery open time, less than the national median time of 120 minutes.

Every year, more than 250,000 people experience an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), the deadliest type of heart attack caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment. To prevent death, it’s critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by mechanically opening the blocked vessel or by providing clot-busting medication.

“This is a testament to the incredible dedication of our nurses, paramedics and advanced EMTs. They constantly strive to improve the level of care provided to our patients,” said Rick O’Donnell, director of Emergency Services. “This is what makes our system one of the best in the country.”

The Mission: Lifeline initiative provides tools, training and other resources to support heart attack care following protocols from the most recent evidence-based treatment guidelines. Mission: Lifeline recognizes emergency medical services for their efforts in improving systems of care to rapidly identify suspected heart attack patients, promptly notify the medical center and trigger an early response from the awaiting hospital personnel.  

“New Hanover Regional Medical Center is dedicated to providing optimal care for heart attack patients,” said John Popella, director of AirLink/VitaLink Critical Care Transport. “We are pleased that we continue to meet the standards of quality care and are recognized for our commitment and achievements in emergency medical care efforts through Mission: Lifeline.”

“EMTs and paramedics play a vital part in the system of care for those who have heart attacks,” said Tim Henry, M.D., Chair of the Mission: Lifeline Acute Coronary Syndrome Subcommittee. “Since they often are the first medical point of contact, they can save precious minutes of treatment time by activating the emergency response system that alerts hospitals to an incoming heart attack patient. We applaud New Hanover Regional Medical Center for achieving this award in following evidence-based guidelines in the treatment of people who have severe heart attacks.”