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Fastest Heart Attack Response in L.A. County

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Antelope Valley Medical Center (AVMC) has the fastest average response time for treating heart attacks in Los Angeles County. One of 37 STEMI (ST-Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction) Receiving Centers in the county, AVMC’s door-to-balloon time averages just 44 minutes. That is significantly lower than the national standard of 60 minutes.

STEMI, the most common type of heart attack, is caused by a complete blockage of blood flow to a coronary artery in the heart. It is critical to open the blocked vessel to allow blood flow to be restored to the heart as quickly as possible. Door-to-balloon time refers to the length of time between a patient’s arrival to the hospital to receiving lifesaving coronary intervention, such as angioplasty. This procedure involves inserting a slender balloon-tipped tube into the artery. Once in place the balloon is inflated, compressing the blockage and widening the narrowed artery to restore blood flow. Surgeons often insert a stent to keep the artery open.

“The faster the response the more heart muscle that can be saved and the better chance the patient has of recovering,” said Sameh Gadallah, M.D., medical director for the Institute for Heart & Vascular Care at AVMC. “Every member of our team is trained and ready to deliver prompt, lifesaving care, which is great for our patients.”

To be a designated STEMI receiving center, a hospital must demonstrate it has the technology, facilities, highly trained emergency medical staff, expert cardiac catheterization laboratory staff, and specialty cardiologists to effectively diagnose and treat heart attack patients. The Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency named Antelope Valley Medical Center a STEMI receiving center in 2007. The hospital has been recognized repeatedly for expedient door-to-balloon times over the past decade.

“This achievement is truly a collaborative effort between emergency medical services and our emergency department staff, cath lab personnel and cardiologists,” said CEO Michael L. Wall. “We have the right professionals, processes and practices in place to ensure the best chance of survival for heart attack patients who are brought to our hospital.”

Opened in 2014 AVMC’s Institute for Heart & Vascular Care offers comprehensive care for the diagnosis and treatment of a full range of health conditions. It features the latest technologies, including two advanced cardiac catheterization “cath” labs. In addition to being a STEMI receiving center, AVMC has also been designated an Accredited Chest Pain Center by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care.