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Local Hospitals Designated as Cardiac Care Receiving Centers

Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and Marian Medical Center meet specific standards for the STEMI system

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors has formally designated Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and Marian Medical Center as centers to provide a Comprehensive Cardiac Care System for Santa Barbara County.

The goal of the system is to reduce to 90 minutes or less the time from recognition of a cardiac event, known as S-T Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI), to definitive treatment.

The Emergency Medical Services Agency, in collaboration with local hospitals and pre-hospital providers, has developed and initiated a Comprehensive Cardiac Care System for Santa Barbara County.

“Every minute that we can decrease the time from recognition to treatment saves valuable heart muscle and significantly improves the long-term outcomes for our patients,” said Dr. Angelo Salvucci, medical director for the Santa Barbara County EMS Agency.

The time goal of 90 minutes meets the new national standards recommended by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.

Acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) remains the leading cause of death for adults in the United States. Coronary heart disease was the leading cause of premature and all death in Santa Barbara County in 2007, accounting for 472 of the total 2,787 deaths, according to the “Community Health Status Report 2009” produced by the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.

STEMI is the most serious form of heart attack. The preferred treatment method for this condition is a specialized procedure known as cardiac catheterization, or Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI). Marian Medical Center and Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, both with PCI capabilities, have been approved as designated STEMI Receiving Centers. These two hospitals have worked to meet specific standards that include required equipment and personnel to provide rapid intervention and care, as well as internal policies, procedures and quality improvement processes that support the countywide STEMI System.

Paramedics previously transported all cardiac patients to the nearest hospital. If the receiving hospital did not have cardiac catheterization capability, some patients required secondary transfer to a facility with these capabilities. The new Cardiac Care System has set standards to provide for the transport of 9-1-1 STEMI patients directly to the approved STEMI Receiving Centers.

— Susan Klein-Rothschild is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.


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