Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2019

Blount Memorial Receives Second Platinum Achievement Award for Cardiac Care

For the second year in a row, Blount Memorial Hospital has been recognized for its efforts to provide outstanding heart attack treatment to our community, earning the American College of Cardiology (ACC)’s NCDR Chest Pain – MI Registry Platinum Achievement Award for 2019.

Platinum is the highest achievement award a facility can receive from the ACC for meeting all criteria for STEMI (ST segment elevation myocardial infarction) and non-STEMI patients for eight consecutive quarters. Last year, Blount Memorial received a Platinum Performance Achievement Award from the American College of Cardiology (ACC) based on data submissions to the ACTION National Data Registry, which was renamed the NCDR Chest Pain – MI Registry for 2019.

Highlights from Blount Memorial’s submitted data include:

  • 81 Eligible STEMI patients and 48 Non STEMI patients successfully treated
  • Median door-to-open-vessel time for STEMI patients of 48 minutes, below the national average of 59 minutes and in the 90th percentile in the nation
  • Median first-medical-contact-to-open-vessel time for patients of 62 minutes, below the national average of 72 minutes and in the 90th percentile in the nation

“Receiving this award for back-to-back years is a reflection of how hard our STEMI team works to save lives in Blount County,” said Blount Memorial CEO Don Heinemann. “They are dedicated to providing the best-possible cardiac care for every patient every day, and constantly strive to fine-tune their methods and improve their ability to do so,” he added.

While Blount Memorial’s STEMI team includes physicians, nurses, radiologists, laboratory personnel and staff from various other specialties, caring for a heart attack patient often begins before he or she even enters the hospital. Paramedics and first responders can call the hospital’s emergency department from the field if they notice signs or symptoms of a heart attack to activate the STEMI team, which helps the team to be ready as soon as the patient arrives. The ambulance ride itself can be a prime site for life-saving heart attack care, with responses such as defibrillation for arrhythmias, transmission of EKGs and starting patients on blood thinners potentially taking place in transit to the emergency room – often making calling 911 better than driving a patient to the hospital yourself.

“The goal of Blount Memorial Hospital's STEMI team is to provide excellent care to our cardiac patients,” said Blount Memorial cardiologist Dr. Jane Souther. “While we are thrilled to be recognized for our efforts, it is much more rewarding for us to know that we have had a part in saving someone's family member and enabled them to not only live, but to live a quality life.  We are appreciative for the opportunity to serve our community," she said.

When you’re experiencing a heart attack, every minute that blood flow to the heart is obstructed is another minute of potentially life-threatening damage the heart is taking. Each year in the United States, approximately 250,000 people experience a STEMI event, typically caused by a complete blockage of one or more coronary arteries, which supply blood flow to the heart. To preserve heart tissue and prevent death, it’s critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible by opening the blocked vessel or by giving clot-busting medication.

While calling 911 is the first priority, there are steps you can take to help save a life when someone is having a heart attack. First, it’s important to recognize the warning signs, which can include shortness of breath, chest pressure, nausea or vomiting, excessive fatigue, and pain that travels down one or both arms. Knowing these warning signs, learning and using hands-only CPR, and finding and deploying an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) are all part of the ACC’s early Heart Attack Care (EHAC) education. For more information, visit

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907 East Lamar Alexander Parkway  |  Maryville, TN 37804
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