The American Heart Association ND Mission: Lifeline grant funded program launched on August 1, 2011 and will be coming to a close on August 31, 2014 after 3 years of statewide STEMI system enhancement. The AHA staff have worked diligently with Mission: Lifeline leadership, taskforce members, ND Department of Health and advocates to ensure a strong sustainability plan is in place to support the STEMI system. One important element of the transition will be the movement of the STEMI program under a larger umbrella which will be known as the ND Cardiac System of Care. The expanded focus will include NSTEMI, chest pain, and cardiac arrest system quality improvement with oversight by the ND DOH Division of EMS and Trauma. Education models utilized for clinical continuing education of EMS and hospital personnel with the ND M: L program will continue in the upcoming year including a 2015 conference with grant funding provided by ND M:L to the ND DOH.
The 3rd annual M: L STEMI and Acute Stroke Conference was held August 5 – 6, 2014 at the Ramada Plaza Conference Center in Fargo with over 240 in attendance over the two days. The first day was a stroke focus with a STEMI focus on day two. The days were filled with continuing educational presentations, quality reports, survivor stories, GWTG quality award presentations, vendor displays, and stroke and STEMI simulation training scenarios provided by SIM-ND. CLICK HERE for news coverage.
The conference highlighted the outstanding support, commitment and collaboration from every participating agency including EMS, Critical access hospitals and PCI hospitals. Huge strides have been made to improve the quality and consistency of STEMI care delivered throughout the state. In a number of measures North Dakota is exceeding the national bench marks. We are much closer to attaining the goal that where you live doesn’t determine if you live!
While significant improvements have been made in the STEMI system of care from first medical contact to restored blood flow to the heart, two major challenges remains in rural North Dakota. Only 26% of individuals experiencing a STEMI call 9-1-1 in rural areas of the state. In addition, the time from first onset of heart attack symptoms to first medical contact can be over 90 minutes. These delays in treatment increase the person’s chance of death or permanent heart damage. We have plans to expand the public awareness campaign: Your Life is on the Line: Dial 9-1-1. Free materials are available for use in communities across the state at www.heart.org/NDMissionLifeline
While the grant support for Mission: Lifeline is at a close, be assured that the American Heart Association staff team will maintain an active and collaborative role in the cardiac system of care work in ND. There is more work to be done to reduce death and disability from cardiovascular diseases in North Dakota.