Good As Gold: AHA Gives SCCAD High Marks for Cardiac Care

St. Charles County Ambulance District [SCCAD] paramedics once again earned Gold Plus status in the American Heart Association’s annual Mission: Lifeline program, which recognizes EMS agencies for their implementation of quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks.

Each year, more than 250,000 individuals experience a ST elevation myocardial infarction [STEMI], a type of heart attack caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment.  To prevent death, it is critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible.  Unfortunately, a significant number of these patients don’t receive this prompt attention.

The correct tools, training and practices allow SCCAD paramedics to rapidly these patients and trigger an early response from the awaiting hospital personnel.  Agencies that receive the Mission: Lifeline Gold award demonstrated compliance for each of four required achievement measures.  The ‘Plus’ distinction reflects that paramedics are consistently performing a 12-lead ECG on patients within 10 minutes on chest pain calls.  2020 marks SCCAD’s second Gold Plus honor, and its seventh overall Mission: Lifeline recognition.

“SCCAD paramedics play a vital part in the system of care for those who have heart attacks in our community,” said SCCAD Medical Director Dr. Leo Hsu.  “As the first medical point of contact, they perform life-saving interventions and shave precious minutes of treatment time off by activating the emergency response system that alerts hospitals.”

SCCAD paramedics and leadership staff are elated to be recognized at this high level, but are quick to highlight that it is their collaborative relationships with area hospitals that make it possible.

“We work collaboratively with our partners at Barnes-Jewish St. Peters, Progress West, SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital St. Charles and SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital Lake St. Louis to develop protocols with the goal of improving the quality of care for STEMI patients,” said John Romeo, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for SCCAD.

Cardiac care has been areas of focus for SCCAD in recent years; in 2015, the District was the first in the region to debut cardio-cerebral resuscitation [CCR] – an innovative approach to cardiac arrest management that saw a significant increase in survival to hospital discharge rates.