STEMI care at Novant Health UVA Health System Culpeper Medical Center
The following article was written by Eileen Snow, MBA, MDiv, RN, CCMSCP, clinical quality analyst and regulatory manager, Novant Health UVA Health System Culpeper Medical Center
Ten years ago, Novant Health UVA Health System Culpeper Medical Center (CPMC) and the University of Virginia Medical Center (UVAMC) partnered to bring the “Project Upstart” program to Culpeper. Project Upstart is an American Heart Association program driven locally by David Burt, MD, of UVAMC. The program was designed to standardize care for heart attack patients — especially those with a very specific type of heart attack, called a STEMI.
STEMI (ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction) is a type of heart attack that can be seen on a patient’s EKG and can usually be effectively treated by highly trained physicians and nurses in a cardiac catheterization lab. The goal for STEMI care is to get the patient to the cath lab as quickly as possible, saving heart muscle and preventing further damage.
For hospitals that have their own cath lab, the national standard is ED arrival to cath lab intervention in 90 minutes or less. For hospitals that need to transfer their patient to a hospital with a cath lab, the national standard is transferring hospital ED arrival to receiving hospital cath lab intervention of 120 minutes or less.
When Culpeper Medical Center began the STEMI program in 2008, the average ED arrival to transfer time was 83 minutes. Understanding that “time is heart muscle,” Culpeper Medical Center dedicated themselves to reducing the CPMC ED arrival to UVA transfer time. Through the use of new technologies, process changes, and the dedication of our physicians, nurses, technicians, secretaries and transportation crews, CPMC has achieved an ED arrival to transfer time of approximately 20 minutes. Minimizing the amount of time the patient spends in our ED helps the patient to receive UVA Cath Lab intervention in approximately 90 minutes – a full 30 minutes under the national benchmark of 120 minutes for referring hospitals.
The latest series of process changes, driven by the immediate past emergency department medical director Jon D’Souza, MD, the current medical director Nael Hasan, MD, emergency department nurses, technicians, secretaries and CPMC ambulance transportation staff have all helped our hospital to achieve these aggressive benchmarks for patients in the Culpeper community. We are so happy to say that when you arrive to Culpeper Medical Center with chest pain, you can expect to receive the best care science and medicine have to offer.