Chesapeake Regional has a better heart attack survival rate than other Southside systems. Here’s their reason why


CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Every second counts in the event of a health emergency. That’s why practice is key in dealing with those critical situations.

Chesapeake Regional Medical Center touts better heart attack survival rates compared to all major hospital systems in Southside Hampton Roads.

They credit part of their success to a special drill.

“It’s part of our American College of Cardiology requirements to maintain our chest pain accreditation and STEMI [ST-elevation myocardial infarction] accreditation,” said Jennifer Morrison, nurse manager at Chesapeake Regional.

STEMI, or segment elevation myocardial infarction, is basically an acute heart attack.

The drill measures how quickly a heart attack sufferer can be identified, transported and assessed in the catheterization lab.

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Chesapeake firefighter Angel Santiago plays the heart attack victim, and Morrison provides the play-by-play.

Santiago begins by telling the receptionist he’s feeling chest pains.

“When 911 is called, our EMS partners are dispatched, they arrive, they begin assessing the patient, asking when did this start, how bad is your chest pain, where is it radiating. They put them on an EKG machine and then they read the EKG and transmit it to my emergency department,” Morrison said.

A physician assesses the EKG, confirms the STEMI, then instructs the team to transport the patient.

At the hospital intake, the patient is processed, prepared and taken to the heart catheterization lab, where the location and severity of blocked arteries can be identified.

In a nutshell, that’s the drill, as for the execution.

“Today went spectacular. From door to finish, from our ems partners, all the way through to the cath team, it went absolutely textbook perfect. I couldn’t be prouder,” Morrison.

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