HOUSTON (August 20, 2013)

The Memorial Hermann Heart & Vascular Institute-Texas Medical Center has been named an Accredited STEMI Receiving Center by the American Heart Association (AHA) and Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care, making it one of only two hospitals in the Greater Houston area and one of 26 nationwide to achieve this accreditation. The accreditation recognizes the Institute's compliance with heart attack treatment criteria set forth by the American Heart Association's Mission: Lifeline program and its commitment to continually improving STEMI care.

In concurrence with the accreditation, the Institute was also awarded the American Heart Association's Mission: Lifeline Gold Quality Achievement Award for heart attack care, which recognizes the Institute's commitment and success in implementing the highest standard of care for heart attack patients.

"Our affiliated physicians and staff are constantly working to achieve the highest level of quality care for our patients, and we are proud to be recognized by the American Heart Association for our continued excellence in cardiac care," said Paul O'Sullivan, chief executive officer of Memorial Hermann Heart & Vascular Institute-Texas Medical Center.

Each year in the United States alone, nearly 300,000 people suffer from a ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), the most severe form of a heart attack. A STEMI occurs when a blood clot completely blocks an artery to the heart, and to prevent death it is critical to restore blood flow immediately, either by surgically opening the blocked vessel or by giving clot-busting medication.

To become an AHA Accredited STEMI Receiving Center, the Institute had to meet the American Heart Association's standards for quick and effective treatment of a STEMI. "The accreditation process required close coordination between local EMS responders, Memorial Hermann's emergency department, cardiac catheterization lab, cardiac rehab, pharmacy and other departments throughout the hospital. It was a huge team effort, but we are dedicated to bringing great care to the greater Houston area," added O'Sullivan.

Clinicians, nursing staff, and the rest of the HVI team worked diligently to gather the necessary information to apply for this elite accreditation. The Institute is already an established Accredited Chest Pain Center by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care.

"Becoming an American Heart Association Accredited STEMI Receiving Center is a remarkable achievement and reinforces HVI's place as one of the very best heart programs in Houston and the nation," said O'Sullivan.