Rideout Memorial Hospital has been officially designated a "STEMI Receiving Center" by the Sierra-Sacramento Valley Emergency Medical Services Agency, (S-SVEMSA), the Joint Powers Agency responsible for EMS planning, certification and implementation in ten area counties. This designation recognizes that Rideout Memorial is specially qualified, equipped and staffed to handle even the most serious cases of 'STEMI' heart attacks. (STEMI is medical shorthand for ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction, an attack caused by clots in one or more of the patient's coronary arteries.)
The designation, effective July 1, means that patients in the counties of Yuba, Sutter, Colusa, Nevada and parts of Butte and Placer Counties will be closer to advanced, life-saving cardiac treatment so vital in the initial period after a heart attack.
"Time is heart muscle," said Robert Plass, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Rideout Health Group, the non-profit community healthcare system that operates Rideout Memorial. "The first 90 minutes are critical; we are constantly working to improve our processes to shorten the time needed to reopen blocked arteries," said Dr. Plass, who is a Board-certified specialist in emergency medicine. "This designation is an expression of confidence in our program's ability to deliver outstanding cardiac care."
Rideout's designation as a STEMI Receiving Center is new, but its advanced cardiac services have been in place for years. Medical and support staff at Rideout Memorial's Emergency Department and Heart Center already comprise a cardiac team that performs the full spectrum of life-saving interventional procedures, from minimally invasive PCIs [Percutaneous Coronary Intervention], such as angioplasty, to open heart surgery/bypass.
The STEMI designation formally recognizes the constellation of personnel and procedures Rideout's Emergency Dept. has in place to handle these most serious heart attacks, further enhancing the continuum of cardiac care available 24 hours a day at the hospital. That continuum begins in the field with the EMTs responding to a 911 call and the transmission of the patient's cardiac status via wireless EKG, which allows for the diagnosis and treatment plan to be put in place while the ambulance is still en route, so the appropriate clinical team is already standing by when the patient comes through the door.
"Rideout Memorial is already a designated Level III Trauma Center for our region, one of fewer than 60 in the entire state," said Terri Hamilton, Rideout's CEO. "The STEMI designation adds another dimension to the advanced medical care we are able to provide to our community."