Level One Heart Attack Network

Almost 400,000 people annually face ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction – or STEMI – the deadliest type of heart attack.

The Wellmont CVA Heart Institute’s Level One Heart Attack Network – the only one of its kind in our region – is designed to improve access to rapid treatment of heart attacks across the Tri-Cities and in rural areas of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

Research indicates heart attack patients have a much greater chance of recovering fully when treated within 90 minutes, as recommended by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association. This treatment process, often referred to as “door-to-balloon time,” typically involves the time between which a patient arrives at the hospital “door” and the point at which his or her blocked artery is opened by a tiny “balloon” instrument, resulting in restored blood flow.

Trust 911 and the Level One Heart Attack Network.

Through partnerships with local communities and emergency medical services providers, the Wellmont CVA Heart Institute and the Wellmont Foundation have developed special heartcare training programs for local EMS providers and have started equipping ambulances across the region with 12-lead EKG machines.

Once EMS providers have received training through the Wellmont CVA Heart Institute and are equipped with 12-lead EKG machines, they can provide detailed heart readings beginning at the ambulance door – or even from inside a patient’s home – instead of at the hospital door. Then, those readings may be sent for analysis by trained emergency department physicians.

When a heart attack patient’s readings are received from an EMS provider, a standard process is enacted to help ensure efficient and effective heart care upon the patient’s arrival.

The enhanced capabilities and detailed training programs associated with the Level One Heart Attack Network allow patients to begin receiving quality heart care minutes before they arrive at a Wellmont facility – dramatically reducing traditional door-to-balloon times and increasing the opportunity of a full recovery for patients who call 911 and choose the Level One Heart Attack Network.

Level One Heart Attack Network and Mission: Lifeline

The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program is a national initiative to advance systems of care for patients with STEMI heart attacks by closing the gaps that separate patients from timely access to heart attack treatments, including cardiac catheterization. Creating this seamless access to exceptional care reduces the time it takes to restore blood flow to a heart attack patient’s ailing artery, preventing additional damage to the heart and facilitating better outcomes.

Wellmont’s Level One Heart Attack Network is registered with Mission: Lifeline as a STEMI network, and Holston Valley Medical Center and Bristol Regional Medical Center – regional leaders in cardiovascular care and hubs within the Level One Heart Attack Network – are recipients of a bronze designation from the Mission: Lifeline program.

To achieve bronze level recognition, Holston Valley and Bristol Regional were required to meet a number of criteria during a three-month period, including:

  • Clearing a patient’s blocked artery within 90 minutes of his or her entry into a hospital at least 85 percent of the time
  • Clearing a patient’s blocked artery within 90 minutes of his or her first contact with EMS personnel in the field at least 75 percent of the time

Holston Valley and Bristol Regional excel in treating heart attacks and improving patients’ lives by frequently exceeding these goals. This commitment from the Wellmont CVA Heart Institute’s experts and cardiovascular team members has resulted in door-to-balloon times as fast as 28 minutes.

Community involvement and the Level One Heart Attack Network

The Wellmont CVA Heart Institute’s Level One Heart Attack Network is supported by donations made to the Wellmont Foundation through the Wellmont Heart Society and a high level of collaboration between emergency responders and the hospitals of Wellmont Health System.

Because local EMS providers play a significant role in the Level One Heart Attack Network by gathering and communicating heart readings from potential heart attack patients, they are carefully trained by a Wellmont CVA Heart Institute cardiologist when they join the network. 

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