Heart Attack Care

A STEMI (segment elevation myocardial infarction) is a type of heart attack in which a coronary artery is blocked by a blood clot that obstructs blood flow to the heart. When this type of heart attack strikes, the faster the artery can be opened (reperfused), the sooner blood flow can be restored, reducing the chance of damage to the heart muscle or death.

MMC’s AMI (Acute Myocardial Infarction) Perfuse Program is a regional system for STEMI heart attack care that involves 14 hospitals in central, southern and western Maine, and the emergency medical services providers in the communities they serve. This system ensures the fastest, most appropriate heart attack care and the best possible outcomes for patients.

How the AMI Perfuse Program Works

When someone calls 9-1-1 with heart attack symptoms, paramedics with advanced training in heart attack care start treatment in the ambulance. They also perform an electrocardiogram (ECG), a special test that measures the heart’s electrical activity, and send the results to MMC’s emergency department. If the patient is actually having a heart attack, this enables the response team to be ready to perform angioplasty as soon as the patient arrives at the hospital.

Angioplasty is a procedure to open a blocked blood vessel. During an angioplasty procedure, a thin, flexible tube (called a catheter) with a deflated balloon at its tip is threaded through a blood vessel to the blocked artery. Once in place, the balloon is inflated to push the plaque against the artery wall, widening the artery and restoring blood flow to the heart.

The national goal is for at least 75% of patients to receive balloon angioplasty within 90 minutes or less after arriving at the hospital door. At MMC, 94% of patients receive this lifesaving treatment within that “door-to-balloon” time, a rate far higher than the national average. When minutes matter – as they do when you’re having a heart attack – this fast, well-coordinated response can truly save lives.

Mark's Story

Mark is a lobsterman in Arundel who spends the winter months clearing snow. But one day, his shoveling was interrupted by chest pain. That's when he learned first hand about a coordinated system of care that is dramatically reducing the number of people in Maine dying of heart attacks.