University of Missouri Health Care earned the state of Missouri’s highest designation as a Level 1 STEMI center, making it the only health care system in the region that offers patients Level 1 trauma, stroke and STEMI care programs.

University of Missouri Health Care earned the state of Missouri’s highest designation as a Level 1 STEMI center, making it the only health care system in the region that offers patients Level 1 trauma, stroke and STEMI care programs.

STEMI stands for ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction, a life-threatening type of heart attack caused by the complete blockage of a heart artery. This blockage can cause some of the heart muscle to die from lack of nutrients and oxygen. Patients are also at a high risk of cardiac arrest. More than 250,000 Americans suffer this type of heart attack each year.

“Patients who have this type of heart attack require time-critical diagnosis and treatment,” said Arun Kumar, MD, medical director of cardiovascular services at MU Health Care. “When blood flow to the heart is completely shut off, every minute that goes by means more damage to the heart muscle. Once the heart muscle is damaged, there is no way of bringing it back. This is why it’s so vital that patients receive immediate intervention.”

Patients suffering from STEMI require fast reopening of the blocked heart artery. This means the patient must be rapidly diagnosed and taken to the catheterization lab, or cath lab, where the STEMI team reopens the blocked artery.

The goal for centers across the country is to get patients suffering from this type of heart attack from the ER door to unblocking their artery in 90 minutes or less. MU Health Care’s team gets patients from the ER door to unblocking the artery in significantly less than 60 minutes.MU Health Care’s STEMI team consists of a wide range of caregivers including those in emergency medical services, emergency department, cardiac catheterization, cardiac intensive care and cardiac rehabilitation. Some of the other important components of Missouri’s Level One designation include:

•Cardiac cath lab available 24/7 •Cardiac surgeons available 24/7

•Available to accept all STEMI patients 24/7 without diversion

•Contribute to clinical outcomes registry 

“I am extremely proud of our STEMI team and the excellent care we are able to give our patients,” said Kumar. “Earning this Level 1 distinction was a multi-year process that demanded excellence. We are committed to bringing the highest-level care available to our patients, and this accomplishment is certainly a reflection of that dedication.”