Many of our hospitals in Washington are designated a Level 1 Cardiac Center. Level 1 is the highest ranking available, and means that we stand ready every minute of every day to provide rapid treatment for cardiac emergencies. That includes having interventional cardiologists available 24/7, and an Emergency Department staffed at all times with physicians who are board-certified in emergency medicine.
The Washington State Department of Health created the Cardiac and Stroke System to improve treatment times for people suffering cardiac emergencies. Before the system was established, emergency medical services lacked necessary information to determine which hospitals could quickly provide the appropriate level of high-quality treatment. Patients sometimes were taken to hospitals that were not staffed or equipped to provide the care they needed, and then had to be transferred to other hospitals. The longer it takes to get treatment, the more damage there is to the heart and the higher the chance the individual will die or become disabled.
The Cardiac and Stroke System allows emergency medical services in the field to quickly determine the level of care available to cardiac patients and to take patients to the appropriate hospital.