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Help Coming to Montana for STEMI Patients

by Grace H. on Monday, April 7, 2014

Guest Blogger: Gina Esparza

Montana just received a little extra assistance when it comes to saving lives – in the form of a $4.6 million grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to implement a three year Mission: Lifeline initiative. Advocates and health leaders from across the state came together on Monday, March 31, to announce the exciting news at a press conference in Helena, Montana.

Mission: Lifeline focuses on saving lives by increasing the number of patients who are rapidly transported to hospitals capable of opening the blocked coronary artery. The most effective treatment is PCI (percutaneous coronary intervention), also referred to as heart catheterization or angioplasty. If PCI is not an option, the next line of treatment is the use of fibrinolytic therapy (clot-busting drugs). Currently, 30 percent of STEMI patients do not receive any therapy. Many more do not receive therapy within the 90-minute timeframe recommended by the scientific guidelines. The funding for this initiative will enhance existing efforts in Montana. The initiative will be implemented over three-years with funding from key partners that share a commitment to improving outcomes for patients in rural Montana.

According to the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services and the Montana Hospital Association, 1,799 people were hospitalized in Montana for acute heart attack in 2012, and of those, 777 were the most serious type of heart attack – a ST-elevated myocardial infarction, or STEMI, in which blood flow is completely blocked to a portion of the heart. Mission: Lifeline is focused on improving the system of care for patients who suffer from a STEMI each year, improving that system will ultimately improve care for all heart attack patients.

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