WAUSAU — Wausau Fire Department has received the American Heart Association’s 2018 Mission: Lifeline® EMS Gold Plus Award for implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks.

“Wausau Fire Department is dedicated to providing optimal care for heart attack patients,” said Chief Tracey Kujawa in a news release. “We are pleased to be recognized for our dedication and achievements in emergency medical care efforts through Mission: Lifeline.”

Every year, more than 250,000 people experience an ST elevation myocardial infarction, the deadliest type of heart attack caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment, according to the city of Wausau news release. To prevent death, it’s critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by mechanically opening the blocked vessel or by providing clot-busting medication.

The Mission: Lifeline initiative provides tools, training and other resources to support heart attack care following protocols from the most recent evidence-based treatment guidelines. Mission: Lifeline’s EMS recognition program recognizes emergency medical services for their efforts in improving systems of care by rapidly identifying suspected heart attack patients and promptly notifying the medical center, which triggers an early response from the awaiting hospital personnel.

“EMTs and paramedics play a vital part in the system of care for those who have heart attacks,” said Tim Henry, M.D., Chair of the Mission: Lifeline Acute Coronary Syndrome Subcommittee, in the release. “Since they often are the first medical point of contact, they can save precious minutes of treatment time by activating the emergency response system that alerts hospitals to an incoming heart attack patient. We applaud Wausau Fire Department for achieving this award in following evidence-based guidelines in the treatment of people who have severe heart attacks.”

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