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Faster Heart Attack Care

When it comes to heart attacks, time is of the essence. Thankfully, Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Cleburne can act quickly.

Texas Health Cleburne has established a standard set of guidelines -- known as the STEMI protocol -- to get heart attack patients suffering a ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) into the catheterization lab to have the blockage removed within 90 minutes of their arrival at the hospital. Receiving the proper treatment within these 90 minutes could save the patient’s life.

Through the STEMI protocol, suspected heart attack patients at Texas Health Cleburne are quickly assessed and then fast-tracked to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth for cardiac catheterization if necessary. Since Texas Health Cleburne doesn’t have its own catheterization lab, having this relationship with Texas Health Fort Worth is a crucial step in the process.

“Thanks to the willingness of the Emergency Department physicians and our special relationship with Texas Health Fort Worth, we can serve heart attack patients according to national standards,” says Cindy Plonien, chief nurse executive at Texas Health Cleburne. “Having a STEMI protocol means we’re saving more lives.”

Jay Lewis, a 51-year-old elementary school principal, thought he was suffering from indigestion when he suddenly felt intense pressure in his chest. Within minutes of being rushed to Texas Health Cleburne, Lewis was diagnosed with a heart attack. Lewis was flown to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth, where he immediately began receiving treatment.

Thanks to Texas Health Cleburne’s STEMI protocol, Lewis was home less than 24 hours later.

To learn more about heart attack care, go to

Fall/Winter 2011

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