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Baptist Health Louisville earns national accreditation as heart attack receiving center


Baptist Health Louisville has received the American Heart Association's Mission Lifeline: Heart Attack Receiving Center Accreditation.

The accreditation program - sponsored by the American Heart Association and the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care - recognizes centers that meet or exceed quality of care measures for people experiencing the most severe type of heart attack, ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), in which blood flow is completely blocked to a portion of the heart.

Baptist Health Louisville underwent numerous on-site reviews by accreditation specialists from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care. Key areas in which Baptist Health Louisville demonstrated exceptional quality of care to receive accreditation include:

  • For patients brought directly to Baptist Health Louisville, 80 percent receive PCI (percutaneous coronary intervention) to stop the heart attack within 90 minutes. Baptist Health's median time is 72 minutes as compared to 82 minutes nationally.
  • 99 percent of patients brought directly to Baptist Health receive door-to-balloon (angioplasty) treatment within 90 minutes with a median time of 51 minutes.
  • All transfer patients (100 percent) receive angioplasty within 120 minutes. The national rate is 32 percent.
  • More heart attack patients survive. In the United States, 6.4 percent of heart attack patients don't make it while Baptist's rate is 5.1 percent.
  • Baptist Health Louisville, working in concert with the Louisville Cardiology Group (a part of Baptist Medical Associates), has backed having EMTs perform electrocardiograms (EKGs) en route to the hospital so results can be electronically relayed in advance of the patient's arrival. This allows the hospital to alert the Cath Lab team, if needed, to open the patients blocked blood vessel. Paramedics are already allowed to perform this test.
  • Baptist is also piloting a program with local ambulance services to allow seasoned paramedics to activate the hospital's Cath Lab when they have a patient who exhibits the classic signs of a heart attack.
  • Creating a 14-county network of emergency medical services and healthcare providers to help ensure that heart attack patients are taken directly to a facility that is properly equipped for immediate treatment.

As a result, Baptist Health Louisville will display the American Heart Association Mission: Lifeline Heart Attack Receiving Accreditation certification mark.

"This accreditation is important because it signals to our community that Baptist Health Louisville offers the comprehensive treatment required by patients experiencing heart attacks," said Mary Beth Polston, cardiovascular services director. "This is the equivalent of being designated as a trauma center - but it's for the trauma of a heart attack. Speed and expertise can mean the difference between life and death, health and disability.

"To be successful achieving this level of care takes a commitment by hospital administration, physicians and other professional staff to provide quality heart attack care. In addition, this award demonstrates a strong commitment by Baptist Health Louisville to integrate with emergency services."

Through its accreditation program, the American Heart Association hopes to significantly reduce cardiac death by teaching the public to recognize and react to early symptoms of heart attack, reduce the time it takes to receive lifesaving treatment and increase the accuracy and effectiveness of treatment administered.

For more information on the American Heart Association Mission: Lifeline Heart Attack Receiving Center Accreditation, visit or