Door To Balloon Time

Rapid care for heart attacks

When you’re having a heart attack, minutes matter. We’re the area leader in door to balloon time, with an average treatment time of just 40 minutes. 

Leader in Balloon Time

Door to balloon time is a critical period that measures how long it takes doctors to open a patient’s blocked arteries and restore blood flow.

The American College of Cardiology says hospitals should accomplish this in 90 minutes. At Aurora BayCare, we are one of the national leaders with a record time of just 13 minutes. 

Critical Minutes

Each year, an estimated 400,000 to 500,000 people have the most serious kind of heart attack.  In the medical world, we call it a STEMI.  (That stands for ST-elevation myocardial infarction.)  A STEMI is caused by a prolonged decrease in blood supply, impacting a large area of the heart.

The preferred method to treat these heart attacks is angioplasty.  Doctors insert a tiny plastic tube into one of your arteries and then use that tube to inflate a tiny balloon to open the blockage and add a stent to hold the artery open.  A stent is a tubular device that helps hold the blood vessel open and restore blood flow.

There’s an old adage in heart care that says “time is muscle.”  The faster that artery is opened, the less damage to your heart.  Less muscle damage means patients live longer and can have more comfortable, active, normal lives.

When door to balloon time reaches 120 minutes, the risk of dying goes up 42% when compared to the 90-minute benchmark.  Unfortunately, many hospitals are still exceeding that average.

How We Do It

Door to balloon time is a measure of a hospital’s readiness to respond.  Here’s how we’re beating industry standards at Aurora BayCare:

  • Clear protocols allow paramedics to call ahead and notify the hospital, so the cardiac cath lab can be activated while a patient is still en-route
  • ER physicians can activate the STEMI team without calling for a consult
  • In-house protocols streamline transport and treatment (such as the security team holding elevators for STEMI patients)
  • Our physicians lead the Midwest in transradial catheterization
  • We are equipped with three hybrid operating room/cath labs

Record Breaking 18 Minute Door to Balloon Time

Jim Taylor had been feeling run down and fatigued for a while.  He tried to push through, but one morning he felt a sharp pain in his shoulder and chest and knew that he needed help. 

Jim reported to his local Aurora Health Center in De Pere where the receptionist immediately recognized the symptoms and took action.  De Pere paramedics rushed Jim to Aurora BayCare Medical Center, where the cardiac cath lab staff were ready and waiting for his arrival.

Within just 18 minutes, Aurora BayCare’s angioplasty team opened Jim’s blocked artery and saved his life. Jim didn’t know how badly he needed help.  The Aurora BayCare heart team did.  Minutes matter.

If you have heart disease, the Aurora BayCare cardiology team will help you manage your condition and prevent the need for emergency care.

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