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Major Cardiac Care Milestone Hit

Highland Earns STEMI Receiving Center Designation

Highland Hospital’s cardiovascular service line achieved a major milestone on December 1: a STEMI Receiving Center (SRC) and Cardiac Arrest Receiving Center (CARC) designation. ACMC is the first medical center in Alameda County to earn the designation in 10 years.

Earning the new designation required months of preparation and hard work, and Highland expects to receive 75 to 100 severe heart attack cases a year that in the past had to be transported to other hospitals. Patients in desperate condition will receive care faster – a key factor in survival.

With this designation, Highland provides a new level of care to Alameda County residents that few hospitals can match – offering angioplasty as a life saving measure for patients experiencing ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). A STEMI is a heart attack in which a clogged coronary artery prevents blood from getting to the heart. A STEMI heart attack patient usually needs an angioplasty within a very short timeframe, ideally 45 minutes or less from the time the patient presents to the ED.

Angioplasty is a procedure used to open clogged heart arteries. During an angioplasty, a tiny balloon is inserted and inflated at the point where an artery is clogged to help open the artery. A stent (a wire mesh “scaffold”) is then inserted to prop the artery open and restore blood flow to the heart muscle. The goal of an angioplasty is to restore blood flow to the heart as quickly as possible. Only a quarter of U.S. hospitals are equipped to handle STEMI heart attack cases.

“This is an incredible accomplishment for our cardiovascular service line,” said Heather Duke, Director of Cardiovascular Services/Radiology. “When we opened the cardiovascular cath lab in May 2011, we made it our goal to become a STEMI Receiving Center within 18 months. So, we are thrilled to announce that we’ve met that goal and we’ll soon be receiving these patients.”

“Achieving the STEMI Receiving Center designation would not have been possible without the dedication and teamwork of our physicians, nurses and staff from the Emergency Department, the Interventional Services Lab, the intensive care unit (ICU) and post anesthesia care unit (PACU),” said Dr. Thomas Frohlich, Division Chief of Cardiology and the new CRC Program Medical Director.

Dr. Frohlich is joined by Heather Duke and Shareen Cronin, Director of Nursing for Emergency and Trauma Services, who share responsibility as the CRC Program Managers. Dr. Amandeep Singh serves as the new Cardiac Arrest Receiving Center (CARC) Program Medical Director, supported by Shareen Cronin and ICU Nursing Manager Ethan Alesi, as CARC Program Managers. Division Chief of Critical Care Medicine, Dr. Colin Feeney, oversees post cath care in the ICU, supported by Ethan Alesi.

Another important advance made possible by the new designation is lifesaving instruction for cardiac arrest and STEMI patients and their family members. They will receive Basic Life Support (BLS) training along with a BLS kit to take home and share within their community. Cardiac care has expanded dramatically at Highland since the hospital’s Combined Cardiac Catheterization Lab and Angiography Suite, built with $2.6 million raised by the Alameda County Health Care Foundation, opened in May 2011. Lives have been saved, outcomes have improved, and hundreds of patients have had more comfortable treatment with less time in the hospital. The new STEMI Receiving Center designation will enhance ACMC’s local and national reputation and underscores the medical center’s commitment to offering the best possible care to all residents of Alameda County.

“We are happy and proud to offer these state-of-the-art medical services to our community,” Heather said. “We’re here to save lives and that’s exactly what our new STEMI-Cardiac Receiving Center designation empowers us to do.”



Dr. Thomas Frohlich, Division Chief of Cardiology, is Medical Director of Highland Hospital’s new STEMI Receiving Center.



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OakCare Medical Group provides the highest quality care to the Alameda Health System and the people of Alameda County in fulfillment of it's dual mission of delivering comprehensive health services and training new physicians.

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