American Heart Association grant aims to improve heart attack care

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Finley awarded $105,200 grant from American Heart Association Mission Lifeline Initiative to improve heart attack care

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UnityPoint Health Finley Hospital has been awarded a $105,200 grant from the American Heart Association as part of Mission: Lifeline, an American Heart Association community-based initiative aimed at improving the system of care for heart attack patients throughout rural Iowa. 

Each year, hundreds of thousands of Americans have the most serious type of heart attack known as a ST-elevated myocardial infarction, or STEMI, in which blood flow is completely blocked to a portion of the heart. Unless the blockage is eliminated quickly, the patient's life is as serious risk. Currently, around two-thirds of STEMI patients fail to receive the best available treatment to restore blood flow. Mission: Lifeline seeks to save lives by closing the gaps that separate STEMI patients from timely access to appropriate treatments. 

Finley is part of the network of hospitals involved in Mission: Lifeline. The Mission: Lifeline system ensures STEMI patients get the right care they need, as quickly as possible. Mission: Lifeline focuses on improving the system of care for these patients and at the same time improving care for all heart attack patients in Iowa. 

In collaboration with stakeholders representing hospitals, individual ambulance services and regional EMS Medical Directors, the project will enhance many critical elements of an optimal STEMI system of care: a system-wide data tool for quality measurement and improvement, ongoing medical provider training and STEMI education; coordination of protocols for rural EMS and hospital personnel; regional plans for rapid transport of patients; and a public education campaign on heart attack symptoms and the need to call 9-1-1. Funding focused on enhancing rural systems is being awarded for hospitals and ambulances to enhance 12 L ECG equipment and training. 

"We are truly grateful to the American Heart Association and the Helmsley Charitable Trust for this grant," said David Brandon, President and CEO of Finley Hospital. "We have the opportunity to identify a heart attack faster, and provide lifesaving treatments before significant damage, or even death occurs."

The program is made possible by $6.1 million in funding, including $4.6 million grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.