contributed….Studies have shown that when someone is having a heart attack, it is in the patient’s best interest to move as quickly as possible to open a blocked artery. To expedite care, Gundersen Lutheran and Mile Bluff Medical Center in Mauston are working to develop a system that allows this to happen without delay with a program called Priority One Heart Attack Program.  “When a person experiences a heart attack, time is muscle.  Every minute that goes by and circulation is not restored to that area of the heart, the more severe the damage,” explains Jackie Adsit, Gundersen Lutheran Heart and Vascular Institute. “We are excited to partner with Mile Bluff Medical Center to provide the residents of the Mauston area the very best access to prompt cardiac care. “

The Priority One Heart Attack Program was established by Gundersen Lutheran in 2005 with several rural healthcare facilities in western Wisconsin and northeast Iowa. It uses a team approach for a swift transfer of a heart attack patient who needs primary percutaneous intervention – such as coronary artery balloon angioplasty and stenting – from their local hospital to Gundersen Lutheran in La Crosse in 90 minutes or less.
“Priority One creates a unique partnership between Gundersen Lutheran and regional healthcare facilities like Mile Bluff,” explains Lori Milliren, Gundersen Lutheran Heart and Vascular Institute. “The success of this program involves collaboration and cooperation between all members of the team.”

“Effective and efficient patient care is a top priority throughout all of Mile Bluff’s service lines,” states Mary Crowley, Emergency director at Mile Bluff.  “When it comes to emergency heart health, partnerships like this help to save lives.”

The Priority One protocol begins with local emergency personnel who help streamline treatment and transport. After evaluation, the local hospital’s emergency department declares a Priority One heart attack. One call to Gundersen Lutheran activates a team to prepare for the patient in the Cardiac Catheterization Lab. Emergency transportation is dispatched for quick transport to Gundersen Lutheran in La Crosse. Upon arrival, the patient is taken to the Heart Institute’s Catheterization Lab where a highly specialized cardiology team provides immediate care.