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Both awards recognize the implementation of specific quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who suffer severe heart attacks.

Media Contact: Tom Hughes, 984-974-1151,

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – June 14, 2018 – UNC Medical Center has received two major awards from the American Heart Association for treatment of patients with heart attacks: the Mission: Lifeline NSTEMI Gold Quality Achievement Award and the Mission: Lifeline STEMI Receiving Center Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. These awards recognize the efforts UNC has made in implementing specific quality improvement measures outlined by the American Heart Association for the treatment of patients who suffer severe heart attacks. UNC Medical Center has been recognized by the AHA as a top performer in heart attack care since the inception of the Mission: Lifeline awards ten years ago.

Every year, more than 250,000 people experience an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), the deadliest type of heart attack, caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires emergency treatment. To prevent death, it’s critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by mechanically opening the blocked vessel or by providing clot-busting medication. Non-ST elevation myocardial infarctions occur more frequently than STEMI and also carry a significant risk of death. UNC Hospitals earned the awards by meeting specific criteria and standards of performance for the quick and appropriate treatment of NSTEMI heart attack patients by providing emergency procedures to re-establish blood flow to blocked arteries when needed.

The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program’s goal is to improve the treatment of heart attacks, beginning with the 9-1-1 call, to EMS transport and continuing through hospital treatment and discharge. The initiative provides tools, training and other resources to support heart attack care following protocols from the most recent evidence-based treatment guidelines.

“UNC Hospitals is dedicated to providing optimal care for heart attack patients,” said George (Rick) Andrew Stouffer III, MD, Chief of Cardiology. “We are pleased to be recognized for our dedication and achievements in cardiac care through Mission: Lifeline.”

“We commend UNC Hospitals for this award in recognition for following evidence-based guidelines for timely heart attack treatment,” said Tim Henry, MD, Chair of the Mission: Lifeline Acute Coronary Syndrome Subcommittee. “We applaud the significant institutional commitment to their critical role in the system of care for quickly and appropriately treating heart attack patients.”

About UNC Health Care

UNC Health Care is an integrated health care system comprised of UNC Hospitals and its provider network, UNC Faculty Physicians, UNC Physicians Network, the clinical patient care programs of the UNC School of Medicine, and ten other hospitals and hospital systems across the state: UNC REX Healthcare, Chatham Hospital, Johnston Health, Pardee Hospital, High Point Regional Health, Caldwell Memorial, Nash Health Care, Wayne Memorial, UNC Lenoir Health Care, and UNC Rockingham Health Care.

About Mission: Lifeline

The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program helps hospitals and emergency medical services develop systems of care that follow proven standards and procedures for STEMI patients. The program works by mobilizing teams across the continuum of care to implement American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology Foundation clinical treatment guidelines. For more information, visit