JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi Healthcare Alliance (MHCA) and the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) are implementing a new statewide plan to save critical time and greatly increase the chance of survival for one of the deadliest types of heart attacks.
An ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) is a type of heart attack where the coronary artery is completely blocked by a blood clot. As a result, the heart muscle supplied by the affected artery begins to die. A STEMI heart attack involves a major vessel that carries the blood supply to the heart and is the least recognized by potential victims and their caregivers. A STEMI heart attack needs specialized treatment – percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) – within 90 minutes for the greatest success rate.
Currently, only 26 percent of acute care hospitals in the country are PCI-capable. Mississippi is the second in the nation (behind North Carolina) to implement a specific plan streamlining response to cardiovascular emergencies. There are currently
19 PCI-capable hospitals throughout Mississippi.
“These hospitals have physicians, staff and equipment capable of opening a blocked artery with a balloon or stent 24/7,” said Dr. Harper Stone, president of the MHCA. “The STEMI plan will expedite the diagnosis and treatment of this type of cardiovascular event. Time is muscle. The longer the delay, the worse the outcome.”
The STEMI Care Plan will facilitate the immediate diagnosis of STEMI events; identify PCI and non-PCI facilities in the state; and establish protocol for rapid transfer of patients to PCI facilities, which in turn will ensure better outcomes for patients.
“Mississippi ranks first nationwide in heart disease deaths. More Mississippians die from cardiovascular disease than from all types of cancer, traffic injuries, suicides, and AIDS combined,” said MSDH State Health Officer Dr. Mary Currier. “It is vital that we fight back, and to be among the first to implement a STEMI response system is an enormous step.”
The American Heart Association estimates that as many as 400,000 people will have a STEMI heart attack each year in the United States. Mississippians who think they may be suffering from a heart attack are urged to call 9-1-1 for immediate assistance.
For more information on the STEMI Care Plan, visit the MHCA website at www.mshealthcarealliance.org or call Heather Sistrunk at 601-968-1297.