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Cardiac Level 1 Program

Fast diagnosis and treatment are key to surviving a cardiac emergency, and a relatively new urban-rural hospital partnership called the Cardiac Level 1 Program is saving lives.

medstar_level_1Emergency department staff at participating community hospitals work hand-in-hand with Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children’s Hospital to care for patients in rural areas who experience heart attacks.

How it works

The Cardiac Level 1 Program connects rural hospitals with the advanced cardiac care available at Sacred Heart. The process begins when a patient with a suspected heart attack arrives at a rural community hospital. Trained to obtain a quick diagnosis, the rural hospital’s emergency department initiates the Cardiac Level 1 protocols.

Call 911 immediately if you suspect a heart attack!

Coordination begins immediately on multiple fronts. Trained personnel arrange for patient transport via Northwest MedStar helicopter or ambulance. Before the patient even arrives, a full team of cardiac experts at Sacred Heart jump into action, including a catheterization lab team, registered nurses, and an interventional cardiologist.

The goal is to provide the fastest and most beneficial treatment to heart attack patients with blocked arteries. Patients should receive coronary angioplasty within 120 minutes—from the time the patient arrives in a rural hospital emergency room to opening the artery in the Sacred Heart catheterization lab. For patients who cannot be transferred within this time, clot-dissolving medical therapy is given within 30 minutes of patient arrival.

It requires strong coordination at every step, but it all begins with quick decision-making by emergency room physicians in rural hospitals.

What makes the Cardiac Level 1 Program unique

A heart attack is caused by a life-threatening clot in a coronary artery to the heart. The most severe form of heart attack is referred to as an ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) and can be diagnosed by a simple electrocardiogram. Although the optimal treatment is to open the blockage with a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), it is imperative to re-establish coronary flow as quickly as possible.

In the past, rural hospitals without an on-site cardiac catheterization lab usually administered clot-dissolving medications to their STEMI patients. Since this treatment is contraindicated in one-third of STEMI patients and unsuccessful in one in four patients, rapid transfer to a PCI-capable facility such as Providence Sacred Heart is essential.

The Cardiac Level 1 Program was developed to facilitate the rapid treatment and transfer of STEMI patients from rural hospitals to Spokane by using a standardized treatment protocol. This protocol has been approved by all cardiology groups in Spokane and ensures the patient timely access to reperfusion (artery-opening therapy).

Cardiac Level 1 Partner Hospitals

This innovative rural/urban partnership is improving patient outcomes and saving lives The program has grown to include 21 rural hospitals, serving a population base of 875,600 people!

  • Lincoln Hospital
    Davenport, WA
  • Valley Hospital and Medical Center
    Spokane Valley, WA
  • Whitman Hospital
    Colfax, WA
  • East Adams Rural Hospital
    Ritzville, WA
  • Newport Community Hospital
    Newport, WA
  • Providence Mount Carmel Hospital
    Colville, WA
  • Providence St. Joseph’s Hospital
    Chewelah, WA
  • Pullman Regional Hospital
    Pullman, WA
  • St. Joseph Regional Hospital
    Lewiston, ID
  • Syringa General Hospital
    Grangeville, ID
  • Gritman Medical Center
    Moscow, ID
  • Clearwater Valley Hospital
    Orofino, ID
  • St. Mary’s Hospital
    Cottonwood, ID
  • Tri-State Memorial Hospital
    Clarkston, WA
  • Odessa Memorial Healthcare Center
    Odessa, WA
  • Coulee Community Hospital
    Grand Coulee, WA
  • Garfield County Hospital
    Pomeroy, WA
  • Ferry County Memorial Hospital
    Republic, WA
  • Okanogan Douglas District Hospital
    Brewster, WA
  • Samaritan Healthcare
    Moses Lake, WA
  • Othello Community Hospital
    Othello, WA

Time = Heart Muscle

Don’t Waste Either

If you think you or someone you know is having a heart attack, there’s no time to waste. That’s why you should dial 911 and get to your local hospital to ensure the right care at the right place at the right time. Recent research shows that fast diagnosis and early intervention at the nearest emergency department—combined with rapidly opening blocked arteries—yields the best long-term results for heart attack victims.

As a Cardiac Level 1 Partner, the local emergency room experts makes sure the patient receives treatment fast, while simultaneously directing medical information and coordinating transportation to Providence Sacred Heart—sooner instead of later.