UNC Hospitals honored with Mission: Lifeline achievement award for heart attack care

The award recognizes UNC Hospitals’ commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of care for heart attack patients that effectively improves the survival and care of STEMI (ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction) patients.


CONTACT: Laura Melega, (919) 843-8217, laura_melega@med.unc.edu

CHAPEL HILL, NC – June 16, 2015 – UNC Hospitals has received the American Heart Association Mission: Lifeline Gold Receiving Quality Achievement Award® for implementing specific quality improvement measures outlined by the American Heart Association for the treatment of patients who suffer severe heart attacks.  This award is the third Gold Receiving Award from Mission: Lifeline for UNC Hospitals.

Each year in the United States, approximately 250,000 people have a STEMI, or ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, caused by a complete blockage of blood flow to the heart. To prevent death, it’s critical to rapidly restore blood flow, either by opening the blocked vessel with balloon angioplasty or by giving clot-busting medication.

UNC Hospitals earned the award by meeting specific criteria and standards of performance for the rapid and appropriate treatment of STEMI patients by providing emergency procedures to re-establish blood flow to blocked arteries. Eligible hospitals must achieve consistently excellent scores on these measures at a set level for a designated period to receive the awards.

The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program’s goal is to reduce system barriers to prompt treatment for heart attacks, beginning with the 9-1-1 call and continuing through hospital treatment.

“UNC Hospitals is dedicated to improving the quality of care for our patients who suffer a heart attack, and the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program is recognition that we are accomplishing that goal,” said George Stouffer, MD, chief, division of UNC cardiology. “We are pleased to be recognized for achievements in cardiac care, and I am very proud of our dedicated team.”

In addition to receiving the Mission: Lifeline Gold Receiving Award in recognition of excellent treatment of STEMI patients that arrive by EMS or private vehicle, UNC Hospitals has also been awarded the Mission: Lifeline’s Gold-Plus award. Gold-Plus status recognizes the high quality care the hospital provides to STEMI patients that were transferred to UNC from another hospital within 120 minutes.

“The Mission: Lifeline Gold Receiving Award was earned through teamwork and a dedication to saving lives,” says Prashant Kaul, MD, medical director of the UNC Chest Pain Center. “The team of UNC cardiologists, emergency department physicians, cardiac catheterization lab staff, emergency department staff, coronary intensive care unit nurses, EKG staff, and performance improvement staff worked together and in partnership with Orange County Emergency Medical Services (EMS), First Health Carolinas EMS, Durham County EMS, and Alamance County EMS to achieve this recognition.” 

“We commend UNC Hospitals for this achievement award, which reflects a significant institutional commitment to the highest quality of care for their heart attack patients,” said James G. Jollis, MD, Chair of the Mission: Lifeline Advisory Working Group and past President of the North Carolina Chapter of the American College of Cardiology.

“Achieving this award means the hospital has met specific reporting and achievement measures for the treatment of their patients who suffer heart attacks and we applaud them for their commitment to quality and timely 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 heart.org/missionlifeline and heart.org/quality.