The Kansas University men’s basketball team isn’t the only one in town that’s ranked No. 1 in the nation.
Lawrence Memorial Hospital has placed first among 932 hospitals of similar size in treating patients suffering heart attacks.
The hospital’s average “door-to-balloon” time is 57 minutes. That’s the time from when the patient enters the hospital to when the artery is opened.
“The faster you can get the artery opened, the less likely for heart damage,” said Dr. Roger Dreiling, LMH medical director of cardiology.
The American College of Cardiology began a campaign in 2006 to help hospitals reduce their times to 90 minutes.
“It reduces the chances of repeat events and it also preserves the heart muscle, so anything above 90 minutes puts patients at a much greater risk down the road,” said Amy Murphy, spokeswoman for ACC.
The campaign has made a difference. In 2005, the national average time was 121 minutes and now it is 80 minutes.
At LMH, Dreiling was the only doctor trained to perform the procedure called percutaneous coronary intervention until Dr. T. Ghose, a cardiologist, joined LMH this month. The hospital has met the 90-minute standard for the past six quarters.
Between Jan. 1 and Dec. 10, LMH has taken care of 165 patients with ST segment elevation myocardial infarction, commonly called STEMI. In the past week, Dreiling said LMH cared for two patients with STEMI — one in 31 minutes and the other in 40 minutes. The fastest time was 17 minutes when they provided treatment for a janitor who was cleaning in the emergency room.
Dreiling said achieving the ranking is a 24-hour-a-day team effort.
“I feel like Bill Self,” LMH CEO and President Gene Meyer said with laughter. “When you have great people that you work hard to recruit and a great team put together, you achieve some lofty rankings.
“Our folks take this very seriously, and the results at least to this point have been fantastic and we expect them to only get better.”