UCSF Cardiologists Lead Nation in ER Heart Attack Care

November 03, 2008
Contact: News Office (415) 502-6397

UCSF Medical Center is No. 1 nationwide for the speed that heart attack patients are treated with balloon angioplasty, a procedure to open narrowed or blocked blood vessels of the heart. Patients were treated by UCSF interventional cardiologists in less than an hour after arriving in the Emergency Department, considerably faster than the 90-minute benchmark of the National Cardiovascular Data Registry (NCDR).

For a 12-month period ending June 2008, UCSF was first among more than 850 hospitals participating in an NCDR survey. In fact, UCSF, which started reporting its treatment time to the NCDR in January 2007, has led the nation since April 2007.

The NCDR, working in conjunction with the American College of Cardiology, compiles benchmarking data for cardiovascular patient care. In 2007, the average time reported by hospitals to the NCDR for balloon angioplasty — beginning when the patient enters the emergency room — was 118 minutes.

Currently, the average time among all hospitals reporting is 106 minutes. The American College of Cardiology initiated a campaign to improve what's called "door-to-balloon" time to 90 minutes or less because the risk to patients increases significantly with every minute delayed beyond 90 minutes for treatment.

Dr. Yerem Yeghiazarians and Dr. Thomas Ports, interventional cardiologists and co-directors of the adult Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at UCSF Heart and Vascular Center, said this outstanding performance reflects the hard work of many people in the Emergency Department and Cardiac Catheterization Lab as well as cardiology fellows and interventional cardiologists.

Many changes were made, including adding a nurse to the on-call team of the Cardiac Catheterization Lab, that has resulted in improved and faster care to heart attack patients. And Karen Rago, administrative director of the Heart and Vascular Center, and Hummy Badri, data quality assurance coordinator, ensured that UCSF’s performance data were collected and reported to the NCDR.

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