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Published on August 23, 2011

Mercy Medical Center is in elite class for providing heart attack care

A study published online this week by the American Heart Association journal, Circulation, shows that the nation’s hospitals are improving in their care of heart attack patients by treating almost all of them within the recommended 90 minutes of arrival.

Mercy Medical Center is proud to say it is leading the way in cardiac care excellence. For more than two years, Mercy has been the state’s only hospital providing 100 percent of its cardiac patients with “Door to Balloon” times of less than the national standard of 90 minutes. Mercy’s average door-to-balloon time is just 56 minutes. 

Mercy surpassed the two-year mark in June 2011. The milestone, reached by only a few hospitals in the nation, reflects the efficiency and coordination of Mercy’s Emergency Department, cardiac team and staff in handling cardiac emergencies. During a heart attack, every second counts and opening a blockage is critical to minimize permanent damage to the muscle of the heart. “Door to balloon” time measures the amount of time from a patient’s arrival to time of diagnosis and treatment initiation, resulting in the opening of the patient’s blocked artery.

Mercy’s team of healthcare providers has made it a priority to work seamlessly together to coordinate their care and hone their response times into a finely-tuned, standardized process. Mercy’s “perfect heart attack care” results are noted on the CMS Hospital Compare website for procedure times under the national standard of 90 minutes.

A number of factors contributed to this accomplishment: strong physician leadership across several departments, area ambulance services activating cardiac alerts in the field and Mercy’s Emergency Department’s management of the process, according to Dr. Cam Campbell, Medical Director of Mercy’s Cardiovascular Services.

“Our physicians and staff are committed to maintaining this level of cardiac care well beyond the two-year mark,” says Campbell. “The enthusiasm and dedication to this initiative has been contagious and a crucial factor in attaining this goal.”

For more information on Mercy’s excellence in cardiac care, visit And to view and compare door-to-balloon times for other Iowa hospitals, click here.