TGH Recognized for Outstanding Care of Heart Attack and Stroke Patients

Published: Aug 1, 2013
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August 1, 2013 (Tampa, FL) - Tampa General has received two awards from the American Heart Association and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association for its exceptional care of heart attack and stroke patients. The American Heart Association awarded the hospital this year’s Mission Lifeline® Silver Receiving Quality Achievement Award for providing an exceptional standard of care to patients experiencing the most deadly form of heart attacks. It is the first time TGH has won the award since it began participating in the Mission: Lifeline program in late 2011. The program focuses on improving the system of care for these patients and improving care for all heart attack patients. Mission: Lifeline hospitals aim to get patients experiencing STEMI heart attacks diagnosed and treated within 90 minutes of admittance to the Emergency Department. A STEMI occurs when a blood clot completely blocks an artery to the heart muscle. It’s critical to immediately restore blood flow to the heart. TGH has surpassed that goal, said Janet Denmark, a Cardiovascular Services clinical nurse specialist who oversees TGH’s Mission: Lifeline program. With an average time of 60 minutes, TGH’s ED staff can diagnose patients experiencing a STEMI heart attack and get them to the Cardiac Cath Lab where they can receive an emergency cardiac catheterization to restore blood to the heart, she said. The hospital is also the recipient of the 2013 American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes TGH’s commitment and success to provide excellent care for stroke patients, according to evidence-based guidelines. To receive the award, hospitals must achieve 85 percent or higher adherence to all of the program’s quality achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month periods. “We’ve consistently exceeded that goal,” said Karen Wilson, TGH’s stroke program coordinator, who works with the program’s medical director Scott Burgin, MD. The hospital has received the association’s awards annually since 2005, Karen said. In addition, TGH received the association’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll, for improving stroke patient care. During the past quarter, at least 50 percent of patients experiencing an ischemic stroke – caused when a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot – received tissue plasminogen activators, or tPA, within 60 minutes of arrival. These blood clot-busting drugs are the only approved drugs for the urgent treatment of ischemic stroke. If tPA is given during the first three hours after the start of stroke symptoms, it can significantly reverse the effects of stroke and reduce permanent disability. Last year, TGH treated 784 stroke patients, said Karen. Patients are often transferred to TGH from hospitals that don’t have the capability to provide the high-level interventional treatments provided here, she said.