Thank you for visiting Richmond University Medical Center.  View our VISITOR POLICY

Home » News » Richmond University Medical Center Earns Highest Honor for Care of Patients Experiencing the Most Severe Type of Heart Attack

Richmond University Medical Center Earns Highest Honor for Care of Patients Experiencing the Most Severe Type of Heart Attack

July 3, 2023

Members of the RUMC Cardiovascular Department (L to R): Sean Galligan, MD; Nay Htyte, MD; Srinivas Duvvuri, MD; Fiona Shehaj, MD; Francesco Rotatori, MD, Chief, Cardiovascular Department; and Iwona Gargala, PA.

RUMC Designated Mission: Lifeline STEMI Receiving Center Gold by American Heart Association (AHA)

Richmond University Medical Center (RUMC) has earned the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline STEMI Receiving Center Gold recognition for its continuous commitment to offering rapid, research-based care to people experiencing a specific type of heart attack known as an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), known to be more severe and dangerous than other types of heart attacks. Gold is the highest level a healthcare institution can earn from the American Heart Association.

“This is an incredible achievement for our cardiovascular team,” Chief of RUMC’s Cardiovascular Department Francesco Rotatori, MD, FACC, said. “It means that our team has been providing excellent and timely care for patients with this life-threatening cardiac condition.”

According to the AHA, each year nearly 285,000 people in the United States experience a STEMI, the result of a complete blockage in a coronary artery. The term STEMI comes from how this type of heart attack appears on an electrocardiogram (ECG), a diagnostic test that uses sensors to monitor the heart’s electrical activity and records it on a line graph. A patient experiencing a STEMI will have an increase in the ST segment of the ECG. The ST segment shows the heart’s activity in a wave pattern. When a person has a STEMI heart attack, this segment will appear abnormally elevated, instead of flat. This indicates a total blockage.

A STEMI occurs when a fatty substance called plaque builds up in the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart. Stress caused by the plaque causes a tear in the artery, which leads to clotting. The clotting can lead to a complete blockage in the artery. The part of the heart serviced by the blocked artery will quickly suffer from lack of oxygen, also called ischemia, and begin to die, resulting in a myocardial infarction or heart attack.

Since a STEMI is so severe, it is critical that treatment begin as quickly as possible to unblock the artery and limit damage to the cardiac muscle. Treatment may include medication to stabilize the heart, reduce pain, and stop clotting; oxygen therapy to increase the supply of oxygen to the tissues; angioplasty, a minimally invasive surgery that repairs the impacted artery; and/or stenting, which involves the insertion of a mesh tube to reopen the blocked artery. Nearly 40% of people who go to the emergency department with acute coronary syndrome, a sudden or rapid decrease of blood flow to the heart, are diagnosed with a STEMI. According to Dr. Rotatori, RUMC treats nearly 100 STEMI patients a year.

Symptoms of a STEMI vary from person to person and may include pain around the shoulder blades, arm, chest, jaw, left arm, or upper stomach; pain or pressure around the chest area; sweating or feeling out of breath; discomfort or tightness in the neck or arm; indigestion; heartburn; nausea and/or vomiting; fatigue and/or sudden exhaustion; dizziness; and increased or irregular heart rate.

Steps people can take to reduce the risk of a STEMI heart attack include maintaining a healthy weight; exercising regularly; limiting alcohol intake, quitting smoking; reducing stress; and managing cholesterol, blood pressure, and diabetes if diagnosed.

The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program is a national, community-based initiative focused on improving systems of care for patients and streamlining processes to speed the delivery of proper treatment for time sensitive, neuro-cardiovascular conditions. The Mission: Lifeline Receiving Center award is earned by hospitals that demonstrate a continuous commitment to treating patients according to the most up-to-date, research-based guidelines for STEMI care as outlined by the American Heart Association.

The STEMI Receiving Gold certification from the American Heart Association is the latest national recognition for RUMC. In May of this year, RUMC received the American College of Cardiology’s NCDR Chest Pain-MI Registry Platinum Performance Achievement Award. RUMC is one of only 400 hospitals nationwide to receive the honor, which recognizes the hospital’s on-going commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of care for heart attack patients. It also signifies RUMC has reached an aggressive goal of treating these patients to standard levels of care outlined by the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association’s clinical guidelines and recommendations.

RUMC is also one of only 1,144 hospitals nationwide named a High Preforming Hospital by US News & World Report for providing the highest quality care to patients experiencing heart failure. RUMC earned the designation after performing higher than the national average during a review of multiple cardiac-related categories, including patient outcomes, volume, and advanced heart programs. A nationwide evaluation of over 6,000 hospitals resulted in only 1,144 earning the title of High Preforming Hospital, including RUMC.

“Earning these awards involves many players, from the EMS (emergency medical services) team on the field to the Emergency Department staff, to our interventional cardiologist and his team of dedicated nurses and physician assistants in the cardiac catheterization Lab,” Dr. Rotatori said. “Each one of these medical professionals has shown an unmatched dedication to their patients and are deserving of praise for these wonderful recognitions.”

RUMC’s new 35,000 sq. ft. James P. Molinaro Emergency Department, which opened at the beginning of this year, features state of the art equipment and technology to quickly diagnose and treat heart attacks and cardiac emergencies. To expand outpatient services provided by RUMC’s team of board certified cardiovascular physicians and medical personnel, the Cardiovascular Department has relocated its preventive care and cardiac aftercare practice from 1058 Forest Avenue to new offices on the lower level of the Krishne Urs, MD Medical Pavilion located at 1161 Victory Blvd. The new location features the latest diagnostic and clinical equipment, multiple patient examination suites, and a larger reception area.

Richmond University Medical Center (RUMC) is a not-for-profit healthcare provider serving the ethnically diverse community of Staten Island and its neighbors. We provide premier-quality patient care through a full spectrum of emergent, acute, primary, behavioral health and educational services. We do this in an environment that promotes the highest satisfaction among patients, families, physicians and staff. For more information call 1-718-818-1234 or visit Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.