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Published:  March 29, 2012

St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, Home of the Texas Heart Institute®, Only Hospital in Houston Recognized by the American Heart Association as an Accredited Heart Attack Receiving Center

St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital (St. Luke’s), home of the Texas Heart Institute® (THI), received accreditation as a Mission: Lifeline® Heart Attack Receiving Center from the American Heart Association and Society of Chest Pain Centers, becoming the only hospital in Houston to earn this recognition.

The accreditation program recognizes centers that meet or exceed quality of care measures for people experiencing the most severe type of heart attack, ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), in which blood flow is completely blocked to a portion of the heart.

“St. Luke’s is honored to be recognized by the American Heart Association as an accredited Mission: Lifeline Heart Attack Receiving Center,” said Margaret M. Van Bree, DrPH, CEO, St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital and Senior Vice President, St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System. “Our medical and clinical team is among the best in the nation in treating cardiovascular patients, which is evidenced, in part, by this recognition.”     

During an extensive review by accreditation specialists from the Society of Chest Pain Centers, key areas in which St. Luke’s demonstrated exceptional quality of care standards to receive the accreditation include:

  • Consistently unblocking a heart artery in less than 90 minutes from the first medical contact by a paramedic with a patient.
  • Providing an in-house STEMI rapid response team of clinical staff and physicians prepared to perform an emergency angioplasty 24 hours a day.
  • Establishing an emergency department “no-diversion” policy, whereby St. Luke’s always accepts heart attack patients regardless of the number of patients in the emergency department or in the coronary care unit.
  • Establishing an EMS hotline that allows first-responders to directly access the hospital’s rapid response team and take heart attack victims directly to the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory for treatment, bypassing the emergency department.   

The American Heart Association and Society of Chest Pain Centers joined forces in September 2011 to launch the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline® Heart Attack Referring/Receiving Center Accreditation Program to help save lives by closing the gaps that separate heart attack patients from timely access to appropriate treatments. Hospitals earning the accreditation must demonstrate an expertise and commitment to quality patient care by adhering to or exceeding strict quality-of-care criteria.

The goal of the program is to significantly reduce cardiac deaths by educating people on early heart attack symptoms, reducing time for treatment, increasing accuracy and effectiveness of treatment and identifying hospitals that provide specialized care.


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