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St. Luke's awarded $105,000 grant from American Heart Association Mission Lifeline Initiative to improve heart attack care.

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UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s has been awarded a $105,000 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 an 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 at serious risk. Currently, around two-thirds of STEMI patients fail to receive the best available treatments to restore blood flow. Mission: Lifeline seeks to save lives by closing the gaps that separate STEMI patients from timely access to appropriate treatments.

St. Luke’s 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.

“St. Luke’s Cardiology Services and Cardiovascular Associates (CVA) are excited to be part of this life-saving initiative, made possible by the work of the American Heart Association and grant from The Helmsley Charitable Trust,” said Edward Zajac, M.D., medical director interventional cardiology for St. Luke’s, cardiologist for CVA, and one of the three Chairs of American Heart Association Mission: Lifeline Task Force. “With the tools, education and resources of Mission: Lifeline, we will now have the ability to provide the earliest and most appropriate care for heart attack victims. Regardless of location, patients in Iowa will receive the same and most advanced STEMI care, meaning better outcomes and more lives saved.”

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 ambulance services to enhance 12 L ECG equipment and training.

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