Heart Attack Care: Platinum Award | News | Loyola Medicine
Friday, February 8, 2019

Loyola Medicine Receives Platinum Award for Heart Attack Care

MAYWOOD, IL – Loyola Medicine has received the American College of Cardiology's Platinum Performance Achievement award for providing superior care to heart attack patients. 

Loyola is the only academic medical center in Chicago, and one of only 203 hospitals in the country to receive this highest-level award.

It takes a median of just 54 minutes from the time a paramedic first contacts a patient until the patient is brought to Loyola and an emergency balloon angioplasty is performed. This is among the shortest times in the country. Loyola's medical contact-to-balloon time is 18 minutes faster than the 50th percentile for all hospitals and eight minutes faster than the 90th percentile.
 
Loyola's groundbreaking Heart Attack Rapid Response Team (HARRT) is on site at Loyola University Medical Center 24 hours a day seven days a week. Any time of day, the team is available to stop a potentially fatal heart attack by performing an angioplasty, which opens a blocked coronary artery. The team includes two cardiologists, two nurses and a cardiovascular technician.
 
Loyola was the first center in Illinois and remains one of the few hospitals in the country to have a heart attack response team in the hospital at all times. Most hospitals do not have such personnel on site during nights and weekends, so precious time is lost when the team has to be called in from home. This is especially true when staffers are delayed by bad weather.
 
"Since launching our HARRT program 10 years ago, Loyola has been at the forefront of providing emergency care to heart attack patients," said John Lopez, MD, co-director of the HARRT program along with Fred Leya, MD.
 
During a heart attack, a blockage in a coronary artery stops blood flow to the heart. Heart muscle begins to die due to a lack of blood and oxygen. An emergency angioplasty can reopen the artery and restore blood flow, thereby preventing or minimizing significant damage to the heart. In many cases, a stent also is deployed to keep the artery open. The procedure does the most good if done within 60 minutes, a period known as the Golden Hour.

"Time is heart muscle," Dr. Leya said. "The sooner we can open the artery, the better."

While speed is essential in treating heart attacks, it's not the only critical factor, said Verghese Mathew MD, director of Loyola's division of cardiology. "During the rapid assessment of the patient prior to the procedure, the team's expertise may determine whether or not another condition exists that may be mimicking a heart attack, requiring other evaluation or treatments," Dr. Mathew said. "Each of the board-certified interventional cardiologists on Loyola's Heart Attack Rapid Response Team is highly skilled, with subspecialty training and extensive experience."
 
Loyola works closely with local emergency medical services to reduce the time to treatment. Paramedics are trained to recognize heart attacks and perform EKG exams en route to the hospital. Results are transmitted ahead to the emergency department. By the time a patient arrives at Loyola, the ambulance EKG has determined whether the patient is experiencing a life-threatening heart attack. (The medical term for such a heart attack is ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, or STEMI.)
 
"Our EMS partners do a superb job," said Mark Cichon, DO, chair of Loyola's department of emergency medicine. "They have undergone advanced training in heart attack response and have equipped ambulances with state-of-the-art technology. They play a vital role in our continuing effort to treat heart attack patients as quickly and as effectively as possible."

The Platinum Performance Achievement Award recognizes Loyola's commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of care for heart attack patients, as outlined by the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association clinical guidelines and recommendations. To receive a platinum award, a hospital must demonstrate sustained high performance for at least eight consecutive quarters.

The hospital must be a top performer in measures such angioplasty times, smoking cessation counseling, cardiac rehabilitation and providing aspirin on discharge. Its heart attack treatment also must be essentially error-free.

Loyola is ranked 27th in the nation in U.S. News & World Report's 2018-19 Best Hospitals ratings for cardiology and heart surgery, out of nearly 5,000 hospitals that were rated.

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 94 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 133,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.