Published on March 07, 2018

Essentia Health-Fargo receives prestigious heart attack award

Each year, more than 250,000 Americans suffer a STEMI, or ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, the most severe form of heart attack. Minutes can make all the difference to these patients, with estimates that two-thirds of STEMI patients fail to get the best available treatment to restore blood flow to the heart. 

Now, the Minnesota Department of Health has recognized two Essentia Health hospitals – St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth and Essentia Health-Fargo – as STEMI Receiving Centers. That means these hospitals have the personnel, infrastructure and expertise to diagnose and treat STEMI patients who require intensive medical and surgical care, specialized tests or interventional therapies. St. Mary's is the only hospital in Minnesota to earn this important designation.

"When it comes to a STEMI, time is muscle. The faster a STEMI patient can get to a hospital to open a blocked artery, the faster we can save them," says Richard Mullvain, the STEMI program manager at St. Mary's Medical Center. "Minnesotans are fortunate that most hospitals already provide very good heart attack care, but there are always opportunities for improvement. The STEMI Receiving Center designation challenges hospitals to raise the bar and provide even better care."

Each year, about 3,000 Minnesotans suffer a STEMI and require immediate emergency care. "We chose to seek STEMI Receiving Center designation because it gives us added support for our accreditation, and it allows us to expand support and recognition on the Minnesota side," explains Brittney Urvand, the cardiovascular program manager in Fargo.

Essentia serves many rural communities with care teams that understand the challenges of coordinating and providing excellent heart attack care. "It requires teamwork, collaboration and communication with many partners to optimize the care of STEMI patients," Mullvain says. "It's a reminder to all of the hard work that's been done to create plans that are effective and to remain dedicated to working together for the best outcomes possible."

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