University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center performs heart attack interventions in nearly two-thirds the American Heart Association-recommended time

Gregory Stefano, MD, Interventional Cardiologist, UH Geauga Medical Center
Gregory Stefano, MD, Interventional Cardiologist, UH Geauga Medical Center

National benchmark is 90 minutes; hospital’s 61-minute average minimizes tissue damage

GEAUGA COUNTY – The Chest Pain Center at University Hospitals (UH) Geauga Medical Center is fully equipped to perform percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI, using balloon angioplasty). The specialized  intervention is for patients experiencing STEMI (ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction), a serious heart attack caused by blockage of one of the heart’s major arteries.

American Heart Association guidelines recommend an interval of no more than 90 minutes from the patient’s arrival at the hospital via EMS to completion of the angioplasty. Data recently released by UH Geauga Medical Center’s Quality Department concluded that, in 2013, the Chest Pain team performed PCI in an average “door-to-balloon” time of just 61 minutes,.

The faster an angioplasty can be performed, the greater the chance that the heart muscle will not be permanently damaged. Fewer than half of STEMI patients in the nation receive an intervention within the recommended 90 minutes. “A 61-minute average is an exceptional result,” says Peggy Kuhar, RN, MSN, FABC, Chief Nursing Officer, UH Geauga Medical Center. “Our ability to unblock the patient’s artery in nearly two-thirds the target time is a reflection of the unparalleled skill of our hospital’s Chest Pain and Emergency teams, as well as that of the 20 Geauga County EMS squads.”

Ongoing Emergency Medical Services training is the foundation of the community hospital’s successful STEMI care protocol. Cardiologists from UH Geauga Medical Center and the UH EMS Training and Disaster Preparedness Institute’s Geauga County Paramedic Program instruct each EMS squad on the most current clinical tools to assess and diagnose STEMI in the field. “Our community is very fortunate to have exceptionally prepared and skilled EMS personnel in every part of Geauga County,” says Gregory Stefano, MD, Interventional Cardiologist, UH Geauga Medical Center. “They enable our Chest Pain Center’s excellent intervention outcomes.”

Community awareness also plays an important part in the effectiveness of the hospital’s chest pain care. “Our 61-minute door-to-balloon average is critical proof that, as a resident of the Geauga County region, you have the very best heart attack care available close by,” says M. Steven Jones, President, UH Geauga Medical Center. “However, it is just as critical to be able to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack and know when to call 911.”

Common warning signs of a heart attack include:
*Mid-chest discomfort or pressure

*Neck/jaw/throat discomfort or pressure

*Shortness of breath




*Nausea and/or vomiting
*Arm/shoulder/hand discomfort or pressure (men)

*Unusual fatigue (men)

*Pain on the left side (women)

*Abdominal/mid-back discomfort or pressure (women)

To learn more about the accredited Chest Pain Center at UH Geauga Medical Center, call 440-285-7757 or visit www.uhgeauga.org.


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