Dallas Hospital Earns Advanced Certification


Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas is also a Comprehensive Stroke Center and a designated Level I Trauma Center. | Image by Texas Health Resources

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas has become the first hospital in Texas to receive the American Heart Association’s “Heart-Check” mark for Comprehensive Heart Attack Center Certification and The Joint Commission’sGold Seal of Approval,” Star Local Media reported. It is the fourth facility in the nation to earn this certification. 

The certifications include a rigorous review process, which is conducted by The Joint Commission. 

Reviewers spent two days at Texas Health evaluating the treatment used for STEMI and acute coronary syndrome. STEMI –an ST-elevation myocardial infarction– is a lethal type of heart attack and the most common, Star Local Media shared, and acute coronary syndrome describes conditions leading to a reduction in blood flowing to the heart. 

The Critical Care and Cardiology director for Texas Health, Melinda Hirshouer, said the national recognition validates the facility’s work. 

“We are so proud of our team and the work that they have done. It validates the commitment and effort for the multidisciplinary care that our patients receive — from the identification and treatment of coronary artery disease — to the prevention and treatment of heart attacks, and finally to recovery and cardiac rehabilitation,” Hirshouer told Star Local Media. 

The American Heart Association and The Joint Commission list several key characteristics of the program. 

Facilities must have continuous primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PPCI) coverage on-site, meet various performance measures, and keep “door-to-balloon time” to 90 minutes or less. Door-to-balloon (D2B) time refers to the time it takes to restore blood flow to the heart after a patient has been admitted, achieved by pushing up the clogged artery with a tiny balloon. Guidelines for D2B are decided by the American College of Cardiology, according to Star Local Media. 

“When we can achieve a door-to-balloon time in under 90 minutes, that most often translates into a better outcome for the patient,” Hirshouer told Star Local Media. “The ultimate goal is for patients to survive and then thrive after a heart attack.”

When treating a heart attack, timing is critical, the Texas Health Dallas chief quality and medical officer, Aurora Estevez, M.D., shared. 

“Immediate treatment for a heart attack is critical, because timing can end up becoming a matter of life and death. This certification affirms our commitment to continuously going above and beyond to care for North Texans by providing quality cardiovascular care,” Estevez said. 

Information from the Texas Department of State Health Services showed that in 2020 over 69,000 Texas residents were hospitalized for heart attacks. In multiple North Texas cities, The Joint Commission has certified facilities as Primary Heart Attack Centers, Star Local Media reported. 

These cities include Plano, Fort Worth, and Arlington. 

Estevez told Star Local Media that being the first Texas facility with the national recognition is an honor. 

“It’s definitely an honor to be the first hospital in Texas to earn this distinction, but it simply confirms we’re striving to do what’s best for our patients,” Estevez said. “Our efforts aren’t driven by accolades but instead by a commitment to providing exceptional patient care with compassion by all involved – from the physicians on the medical staff, to nurses, to each and every hospital employee.”

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas is also a Comprehensive Stroke Center and a designated Level I Trauma Center. 

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