JPMC & BlueStem Cardiology Impressive D2B Times

Pictured are (front row, left to right): Andrea N. Dryden, APRN-C (BlueStem Cardiology), Cardiologist  W. Patrick Tinker, MD (BlueStem Cardiology), Vicki McCallie, RN (JPMC Emergency Services), and Carrie S. Platt, APRN-C (BlueStem Cardiology).  Back row, left to right: Cardiologist Stan DeFehr, MD (BlueStem Cardiology), Kelli Bradshaw, RN (JPMC Cath Lab), and Jamie Stose, RN, (JPMC Cath Lab).


Jane Phillips Medical Center and BlueStem Cardiology concluded 2013 with another stellar performance in quickly treating heart attack patients. During the last calendar year, 31 of 33 patients (93%) were treated in less than the national target of 90 minutes. The average time for completing emergency “balloon” surgery was 66 minutes.

The guidelines developed by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association outline the treatment of heart attack patients. The “door-to-balloon” time or “D2B” begins the moment the patient arrives at the facility and concludes with the opening of the clogged artery.

“Because JPMC is close to home we are able to activate the team and be on site when and where patients most desperately need us,” said Judy Green, Manager of JPMC’s Cardiac Cath Lab.

Green said the obvious goal is to achieve a door-to-balloon time average of 100%, but doing so can be quite difficult.

“The heart is a very intricate organ and sometimes it just takes a little longer to actually get to the blockage.”

BlueStem Cardiology and JPMC enrolled in the D2B program when it was launched in 2008 and for the past 12 years have been part of the National Cath Lab Registry Data. The results have been excellent.

“Our ability to exceed the national average is due to our dedicated associates,” said Anderson Mehrle, MD, BlueStem Cardiology. “We also could not achieve this without the support of our local and regional EMS, the medical staff, and our entire emergency department. It is a true team effort in caring for our patients.”

   The first few minutes of care for an acute heart attack are the most important. A heart attack is caused by one of the coronary arteries that supply the heart becoming occluded or blocked. If the artery can be opened quickly enough damage is minimized. The best way to achieve this result is to take a patient with an acute heart attack as soon as possible to the Cardiac Cath Lab and open the artery with a balloon and stent.

   Dr. Mehrle said they continually strive to improve door-to-balloon times through quality management, technology, and a commitment to the hospital’s mission, vision, and values.

   A somewhat surprising result has been noted in national studies—smaller hospitals actually have as good or better outcomes as larger hospitals. Dr. Mehrle said that is due, primarily, to smaller, well-run hospitals like JPMC taking less time to get patients through the emergency room and into the Cath Lab.

   JPMC has assembled a quality assurance team to monitor the D2B initiative’s success. The team consists of cardiologists, other physicians and clinicians, and administrators. It provides constant feedback on achievement of goals all in an effort to ensure better patient outcomes.

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