Williamson County EMS has received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline® EMS Gold Plus Award. This award is given for continuing to meet quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience heart attacks.
Every year, more than 250,000 people experience a STEMI, or ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction, a type of heart attack caused by a complete 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 surgically opening the blocked vessel or by giving clot-busting medication.
Mission: Lifeline seeks to save lives by closing the gaps that separate STEMI patients from timely access to appropriate treatments. Mission: Lifeline’s EMS recognition program recognizes those emergency responders for their efforts in improving STEMI systems of care and improving the quality of life for these patients.
Emergency Medical System providers are vital to the success of Mission: Lifeline. EMS agencies provide access to 12-lead ECG machines (devices that measures the electrical activity of the heartbeat and can help medical personnel determine if a heart attack has occurred), and follow protocols derived from American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology guidelines. The correct tools and training allow EMS providers to rapidly identify the STEMI, promptly notify the medical center from the scene, and trigger an early response from the awaiting hospital personnel.
Agencies that receive the Mission: Lifeline Gold Plus award have demonstrated at least 75 percent compliance for each required achievement measure for two years and treated at least eight STEMI patients for each year. To receive the Plus designation Williamson County EMS reported on an optional measurement.
“EMTs and paramedics play a vital part in the system of care for those who have heart attacks,” said Nancy Brown, chief executive officer of the American Heart Association/ American Stroke Association. “Since they often are the first medical point of contact, they can shave precious minutes of life-saving treatment time by activating the emergency response system that alerts hospitals. We applaud Williamson County EMS for achieving this award that shows it meets evidence-based guidelines in the treatment of people who have severe heart attacks.”
“Williamson County EMS is dedicated to making our department among the best in the country, and the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program is helping us accomplish that by implementing processes for improving STEMI systems of care with the goal of improving the quality of care for all STEMI patients,” said Mike Knipstein, director of Williamson County EMS. “We are pleased to be recognized for our dedication and achievements in emergency medical care for STEMI patients.”