Last fall, Jeff Tisch, 47, was playing basketball with friends when he started feeling dizzy. “I didn’t think it was anything major, but then I got a burning feeling in my chest,” he said. “That’s when I knew something wasn’t right.”

Jeff called his wife, who directed him to the nearest emergency department — the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Moorland Reserve Emergency Department in New Berlin. Within minutes, the care team had him hooked up to an EKG. “Shortly after that, they told me I was having a heart attack,” Jeff said.

Paramedics from the New Berlin Fire Department rushed Jeff to Froedtert & MCW Froedtert Hospital, where he was met in the Emergency Department by Michael Salinger, MD, interventional cardiologist and MCW faculty member.

“We did an emergency angiogram, and it showed that his right coronary artery was completely blocked,” Dr. Salinger said. Working rapidly, the cardiac catheterization lab team used a minimally invasive balloon catheter to restore blood flow, and then inserted a stent to hold the artery open. “We were able to interrupt the heart attack in progress,” Dr. Salinger said.

For Jeff, fast action was critical. Moorland Reserve Emergency Department, a department of Froedtert & MCW Community Memorial Hospital, has the ability to rapidly assess and stabilize patients with heart symptoms. It is one reason the facility recently became the first certified, freestanding Cardiac Care Center, an American College of Cardiology certification.

“We have a well-orchestrated pathway for patients who come in with chest pain,” said William Scheels, MD, emergency medicine physician and MCW faculty member. “Our staff is trained to quickly follow the right protocols and, if needed, mobilize the catheterization labs at Froedtert Hospital or Community Memorial Hospital,” he said. “We also work very closely with New Berlin paramedics, who transport patients quickly.”

The American College of Cardiology has established a “door-to-balloon” goal of 120 minutes for heart attack patients who present at emergency departments like Moorland Reserve. The Froedtert Hospital team was able to open the occluded artery only 72 minutes after Jeff arrived at Moorland Reserve Emergency Department.

“I was very impressed, and it’s amazing how good I feel today compared to just a short time ago,” Jeff said. “They did one heck of a job — and quickly.”

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