ACC together with AHA and other key healthcare organizations, has launched "Door to Balloon (D2B): An Alliance for Quality." A Guidelines Applied in Practice (GAP) Program, the D2B campaign is aimed at improving the timeliness of lifesaving therapy for patients with heart attacks at the nation's hospitals that perform emergency angioplasty.

Door-to-balloon time refers to the interval between arrival at the
hospital and the opening of a blocked artery with an angioplasty balloon. Patients who receive prompt treatment are more likely to survive a common type of heart attack called ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI).

Previously published ACC/AHA guidelines recommend a 90-minute D2B standard, but it does pose organizational challenge, and many patients are not treated within that timeframe.

"The D2B campaign provides a great way for the nation's hospitals to come together and make a promise to their patients that they will deliver rapid care and eliminate needless delays," says Harlan M. Krumholz, M.D., S.M., F.A.C.C., chair of the D2B Working Group. "In essence, by working together, we can make what is currently extraordinary performance, achieved by only a few hospitals, something that is routine and ordinary in clinical practice, ensuring that patients across the country with STEMI receive the proper treatment that they need."

"The introduction of this new campaign is a giant step toward
increasing the quality of patient care for heart attack patients," said Raymond Gibbons, M.D., F.A.C.C., president of the American Heart Association. "It will help these hospitals to deliver the best possible care to every patient."

Specific strategies for accomplishing the D2B recommendation include: (1.) The emergency medicine physicians activate the catheterization laboratory (cath lab); (2.) A single call activates the cath lab; (3.) The cath lab team arrives and is ready within 20-30 minutes; (4.) Real-time data feedback in the ED and the cath lab;.

Over the coming months, participating hospitals will receive an
implementation manual and tool kit, as well as information on how to best construct the team needed to implement the changes; what the roles and responsibilities of each member should be; and how to identify the point person for the project within each primary PCI hospital. An update on the campaign will be given at ACC.07, in New Orleans, March 24-27.

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