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Chesapeake Fire Department, Norfolk Fire-Rescue, and Portsmouth Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services have received the American Heart Association's Mission: Lifeline® EMS Bronze Award recognizing their commitment and success in implementing specific quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who suffer a severe heart attack known as a STEMI (ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction). These three agencies represent 3 of only 10 EMS awards given statewide.
 
Every year, almost 300,000 people experience a STEMI, a type of heart attack caused by a complete blockage of blood flow to the heart, which 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.
Unfortunately, a significant number don't receive prompt reperfusion therapy, which is critical in restoring blood flow. Mission: Lifeline seeks to save lives by closing the gaps that separate STEMI patients from timely access to appropriate treatments. Mission: Lifeline's new 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 education in STEMI identification and access to 12-lead ECG machines 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 and trigger and early response from the awaiting hospital personnel.

Agencies receiving the Mission: Lifeline Bronze award have demonstrated at least 75 percent compliance for each required achievement measure for three months (one quarter), and treated at least four STEMI patients for the year.

"We commend these Hampton Roads EMS agencies for this achievement award, which reflects a significant commitment to improve the quality of care for heart attack patients," said A. Gray Ellrodt, MD, Chair of the Mission: Lifeline committee and Chief of Medicine at the Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, Mass. "All too many heart attack patients in the United States still fail to receive appropriate treatment for their life-threatening condition within the recommended timeframes. We must all continue this important work to streamline and coordinate regional systems of care to save lives and prevent complications."

"The EMS agencies in Hampton Roads are dedicated to providing the best EMS care in Virginia. The Mission Lifeline program is helping us accomplish that by implementing processes for improving STEMI systems of care for all of our patients in cooperation with our other healthcare partners" said Jeff Meyer, EMS Manager, Portsmouth Fire, Rescue, and Emergency Services.

"Chesapeake Fire Department, Norfolk Fire-Rescue, and Portsmouth Fire, Rescue, and Emergency Services, are pleased to be recognized for our dedication and achievements in emergency medical care for STEMI patients, and will use this award as a catalyst for further improvements in our delivery systems," stated Thomas Schwalenberg, Chief Medical Officer, Chesapeake Fire Department.

Download the press release: pdf  EMS Mission Lifeline Award - Joint Agency Press Release 5-2014

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