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Heart Association Honors EMS

Heart Association Honors EMS

The American Heart Association is honoring Allentown EMS for the fourth consecutive year for its treatment of heart attack victims.

Allentown EMS has received the American Heart Association’s 2017 Mission: Lifeline® EMS Gold Plus Award for implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks.

Every year, more than 250,000 people experience an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) the most deadly type of heart attack caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely 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.

The Mission: Lifeline initiative provides tools, training and other resources to support heart attack care following protocols from the most recent evidence-based treatment guidelines. Mission: Lifeline’s EMS recognition program recognizes emergency medical services for their efforts in improving systems of care to rapidly identify suspected heart attack patients, promptly notify the medical center and trigger an early response from the awaiting hospital personnel.

Emergency Medical System providers are vital to the success of Mission: Lifeline. EMS agencies perform 12-lead ECGs which measure the electrical activity of the heart and can help determine if a heart attack has occurred. They also follow protocols derived from American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology guidelines. These correct tools, training and practices allow EMS providers to rapidly identify suspected heart attack patients, promptly notify the medical center, and trigger an early response from the awaiting hospital personnel.

Agencies that receive the Mission: Lifeline Gold award have demonstrated at least 75 percent compliance for each required achievement measure for two years. The Plus designation is added for achieving at least 75 percent compliance of 12 lead ECGs performed on patients in the field with an initial complaint of non-traumatic chest pain ≥ 35 years (who were transported), within 10 minutes of EMS (12 lead capable) arrival to the patient. Allentown EMS achieved the Plus designation in 2016 and 2017.

“EMTs and paramedics play a vital part in the system of care for those who have heart attacks,” said Tim Henry, M.D., Chair of the Mission: Lifeline Acute Coronary Syndrome Subcommittee. “Since they often are the first medical point of contact, they can save precious minutes of treatment time by activating the emergency response system that alerts hospitals to an incoming heart attack patient. We applaud Allentown EMS for achieving this award in following evidence-based guidelines in the treatment of people who have severe heart attacks.”

“We are proud to be recognized for our dedication and achievements in emergency medical care for all cardiac patients, said Allentown EMS Chief of Operations Manager Eric Gratz. “It is a gold level that we have been able to prove and maintain for three years running and a silver back in 2014. We are committed to making our service on par with the best in the country, and the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program is helping us achieve that by implementing processes for improving systems of care. These victims need our best work and we strive to give it to them every day.”


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 acute coronary syndrome patients. The program works by mobilizing teams across the continuum of care to implement American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology clinical treatment guidelines. For more information, visit

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