Bristol Regional, Holston Valley Recognized By American Heart Association For Heart Care

Superior cardiovascular care from the Wellmont CVA Heart Institute, which bolsters quality of life for the region’s patients, is achieving special recognition from the American Heart Association for prompt and effective heart attack treatment.

Bristol Regional Medical Center earned the Gold award in the Mission: Lifeline program administered by the national organization. The hospital is the only one in Tennessee and Virginia to attain this remarkable status, reinforcing the quality of care it delivers at the Alpha Natural Resources Center for Interventional Cardiology.

“This is an incredible honor for the dedicated and compassionate physicians, nurses, first responders and other caregivers who take great pride in improving the lives of our patients,” said Dr. Pierre Istfan, an interventional cardiologist with the heart institute and medical director of the cardiac catheterization lab at Bristol Regional. “This award will continue to assure our patients that they are in superior hands when they come to Bristol Regional and need urgent life-saving care.”

Holston Valley Medical Center received the Silver award, demonstrating again that the heart institute is the go-to organization for the best cardiovascular care in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

“We have excellent processes in place that enable us to provide the best care possible to our patients,” said Dr. Herb Ladley, another interventional cardiologist with the heart institute, who practices at Holston Valley. “It is part of a relentless pursuit of excellence on everyone’s part at Holston Valley to achieve the best outcomes for patients.”

The heart institute celebrated the honors the two hospitals achieved at a ceremony Tuesday, Sept. 10, at MeadowView Conference Resort & Convention Center. At the event, the two hospitals received their awards from the American Heart Association, and physicians noted that their commitment to continuous improvement would continue.

Bristol Regional collected the Gold award for compiling a composite score of 85 percent or greater on Mission: Lifeline quality achievement indicators for heart attack patients for two consecutive calendar years. Holston Valley received the Silver award for meeting this standard for one calendar year.

“It’s no accident Bristol Regional and Holston Valley continue to capture the attention of national organizations that evaluate quality of care,” said Dr. Jerry Blackwell, a medical doctor and the heart institute’s president. “You will never see our physicians and other medical professionals resting on their laurels because they know they can still improve to make the outcome even better for the patient.”

One of the keys to successful treatment of heart attack patients is the Level One Heart Attack Network. This heart institute program is a coordinated effort between caregivers at the scene, the emergency department and the cardiac catheterization lab at the hospital.

This program empowers medical professionals in the field to perform electrocardiograms on a patient and transmit the test to the emergency department for evaluation. This enables a physician in the emergency department to confirm a heart attack during patient transport, so the cardiac catheterization lab can be mobilized to work on a patient as he or she arrives.

This innovative system has enabled Bristol Regional and Holston Valley to be able to restore blood flow in a clogged artery in as little as 15 minutes. Dr. Istfan and Dr. Ladley, both medical doctors who serve as medical directors for the heart attack network at their respective hospitals, said external caregivers play an integral role in helping Bristol Regional and Holston Valley treat patients so efficiently and effectively.

Dr. Ladley’s dedication to the heart attack network led to his recent receipt of a regional award for a physician making an outstanding contribution to emergency medical services in Virginia.

“People may sometimes wonder whether they need to get in their car and head to a large city for high-caliber heart care,” Dr. Blackwell said. “But when they review the rigorous standards everyone associated with the Level One Heart Attack Network utilizes, the answer is obvious. They can stay right at home and receive as good, if not better, care at Bristol Regional or Holston Valley and from emergency personnel in the field.”