The Los Angeles County Health Department's emergency medical services agency has named UCLA Medical Center a designated receiving center for patients suffering from a common type of heart attack known as ST-elevation myocardial infarction, or STEMI.
The certification, effective June 1, means that when paramedics identify heart attack patients through a field electrocardiogram (EKG), they will bring those patients directly to UCLA Medical Center or to the nearest STEMI Center for treatment.
The designation reflects UCLA Medical Center's commitment to meet the guidelines of the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association to achieve a "medical contact to balloon time" of 90 minutes or less — referring to the interval between contact with paramedics outside the hospital and the opening of a blocked artery with an angioplasty balloon.
To achieve this performance level, a hospital must demonstrate that it has the technology, facilities, highly trained emergency medical staff, expert cardiac catheterization laboratory staff and specialty physicians to effectively diagnose and treat heart attack patients. UCLA's interventional cardiology and emergency medicine departments work closely together to provide effective care and meet patient needs.
"This collaborative effort between departments and the ability to work seamlessly as a team exemplifies our commitment to patient-centered care and to using the latest standards in rapid treatment of patients experiencing heart attack," said Johanna Bruner, director of cardiology services and interim director of emergency services at UCLA Medical Center.
"We're happy about our designation as a STEMI center. It will allow us to help more heart attack victims and provide more effective therapy for these events," said Dr. Marshall Morgan, chief of emergency medicine at UCLA Medical Center.