How UTSW Treats Heart Attacks – Opening Blocked Arteries

Improving blood flow to the heart as quickly as possible is critical to preventing more damage to the heart and increasing the chances of surviving a heart attack.

Why Is This Important?

Some heart attacks occur because blood clots in the arteries keep oxygen-rich blood from getting to the heart, damaging the heart muscle. Percutaneous Coronary Interventions (PCIs) are effective procedures that open blocked arteries and improve blood flow to the heart. This procedure involves opening the artery by inflating a small balloon in the artery (angioplasty) and frequently placing a stent in the artery to keep it open. For best results, this procedure should be done within 90 minutes of arriving at a hospital with a heart attack.

Heart Attack Patients Given PCI
Within 90 Minutes of Arrival

A higher percentage is better with this measure.
Source: hospitalcompare.hhs.gov

What Does This Graph Show?

The graph indicates the percentage of UTSW heart attack patients who underwent a procedure to open a blocked artery within 90 minutes of arrival at the hospital, compared to both Texas and U.S. averages as well as U.S. News & World Report's top hospitals.

We believe this number is too low. The cardiologists at UT Southwestern are working to ensure that 100 percent of patients receive a PCI within 90 minutes of arriving at our emergency room with a heart attack.