Time is of the essence in detecting and treating a heart attack. The first point of care for a person who suffers a heart attack is the Emergency Department, where specially trained physicians and staff quickly assess and treat patients. The immediate goal is to open blocked arteries quickly to restore blood flow to the heart and minimize damage to the heart muscle.

Door-to-Balloon Time

One critical measure of emergency heart care is “door-to-balloon time,” which indicates how quickly a medical team is able to restore blood flow in patients who have a heart attack. Door-to-balloon time is counted from the time a patient comes in the door to the point where he or she undergoes balloon angioplasty to open a blocked artery.

Balloon angioplasty is the most effective treatment for opening blocked arteries, restoring blood flow and reducing damage to the heart muscle. Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin excel in door-to-balloon time. While the standard door-to-balloon time among healthcare organizations is 90 minutes (based on The Joint Commission’s Acute Myocardial Infarction Core Measure guidelines), our average door-to-balloon time is well below 90 minutes.

Cardiac Intensive Care Unit

In the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU), cardiovascular, critical care and internal medicine subspecialists provide medical care to heart attack patients and other cardiac patients requiring intense, specialized care. All nurses in the unit are ACLS (advanced cardiac life support) certified and many have earned the CCRN (certified in critical care nursing) designation. The CICU provides care for about 500 patients per year.

Our Cardiovascular Program continues to receive recognition as one of the top programs nationally. We are honored to provide high-quality, effective care for even the most high-risk patients.

  • In its 2024 Specialty Excellence Awards, Healthgrades recognized Froedtert Hospital as one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals for Cardiac Surgery, one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Cardiac Care and one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Coronary Intervention, as well as other specialty achievements in various areas.

    For the second year in a row, Froedtert Hospital was identified as one of the nation’s 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals™ according to an independent quality analysis based on a balanced scorecard provided by PINC AI™, and reported by Fortune. The hospitals recognized in the top 50 operated at lower cost and had better outcomes, recording significantly higher inpatient survival rates, fewer patients with complications, lower readmission rates and up to nearly $10,000 less in total costs per patient case. According to the study’s analysis, if all hospitals operated at the level of this year’s top performers, there could be 7,600 fewer deaths due to heart disease, 6,700 fewer bypass and angioplasty patients who suffer complications, and more than $1 billion in costs saved for the 2024 study year. Froedtert Hospital was ranked in the category of top teaching hospitals with a cardiovascular residency program. In this cohort of hospitals, Froedtert Hospital was ranked No. 4 in the country. No other hospital in Wisconsin was recognized with this national distinction.

    The Society for Vascular Surgery's Vascular Quality Initiative (SVS VQI) has awarded Froedtert Hospital three out of three stars for its active participation in the Registry Participation Program. The mission of the SVS VQI is to improve patient safety and the quality of vascular care delivery by providing web-based collection, aggregation and analysis of clinical data submitted in registry format for all patients undergoing specific vascular treatments. The VQI operates 14 vascular registries.

    The American Heart Association recognized Froedtert Hospital with its Get With the Guidelines® Heart Failure Gold Plus Award. In addition, the hospital was recognized on the AHA’s Target: Heart Failure(SM) Honor Roll and received the AHA’s Target: Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll™ award. 

    The American Heart Association also recognized Froedtert Hospital with its Get With the Guidelines® — Coronary Artery Disease Mission: Lifeline STEMI Receiving Silver Plus and Mission: Lifeline NSTEMI Silver awards. These awards demonstrate our commitment to improving care by adhering to the latest treatment guidelines and streamlining processes to ensure timely and proper care for heart attacks.

    The American Heart Association recognized Froedtert Hospital with its Get With the Guidelines® AFib Gold Award.

    ​The Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) and Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Froedtert Hospital have each received a silver-level Beacon Award for Excellence from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. This award recognizes unit caregivers who successfully improve patient outcomes and align practices with AACN’s six Healthy Work Environment Standards. Receiving this national three-year award with gold, silver and bronze designations, marks a significant milestone on the path to exceptional patient care and achieving a healthy work environment.