Forrest General Hospital Earns Top National Recognitions By The American Heart Association for Treatment of Heart Attack Patients

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (September 17, 2021) Forrest General Hospital has received two of the American Heart Association’s top awards – the Mission: Lifeline® EMS Gold Achievement Award and the Mission Lifeline® NSTEMI Gold Achievement Award.

Both awards recognize the implementation of specific quality improvement measures to treat heart attack patients. The NSTEMI is for the more efficient and rapid treatment of patients who suffer severe heart attacks while the EMS award is presented for measures to treat patients who suffer severe heart attacks.

Each year more than 490,000 people experience a non-ST elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI), caused by a partial blockage of blood flow to the heart, while 250,000 people annually experience a STEMI (ST elevation myocardial infarction), the deadliest type of heart attack. Both block blood flow to the heart and require timely treatment. To prevent death in either situation, it is critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by mechanically opening the blocked vessel or by providing clot-busting medication.

The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program helps reduce barriers to prompt treatment for heart attacks – starting from when 9-1-1 is called, to EMS transport and continuing through hospital treatment and discharge. Optimal care for heart attack patients takes coordination at the individual hospital, EMS and healthcare system.

“EMTs and paramedics play a vital part in the system of care for those who have heart attacks,” said Tim Henry, M.D., chair of the Mission: Lifeline Acute Coronary Syndrome Subcommittee. “Since they often are the first medical point of contact, they can save precious minutes of treatment time by activating the emergency response system that alerts hospitals to an incoming heart attack patient.”

According to Alice Jacobs, professor of medicine, Boston University School of Medicine and AHA volunteer chair, GWTG-CAD Systems of Care Advisory Work Group, “When someone experiences a NSTEMI heart attack, AHA guidelines call for specific actions in the hospital, as well as appropriate medications and cardiac rehab activities following a hospital stay. Hospitals like Forrest General are recognized for consistently providing patients with guidance, medication and rehabilitation opportunities that help the patient have the best chance of preventing another cardiac event.”

Program participants apply for the award recognitions by demonstrating how their organization has committed to improving quality care.

“Forrest General Hospital is honored to be recognized by the American Heart Association for our dedication to helping our patients have the best possible chance of survival after a heart attack,” said Dr. Chris Douglas, interventional cardiologist. “The Mission: Lifeline program helps our integrated teams put proven knowledge and guidelines to work on a daily basis to improve outcomes for patients.”

About Forrest General’s Heart & Vascular
Forrest General’s Heart and Vascular Services delivers expert care from board-certified cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons and vascular surgeons. Services range from diagnostic testing, heart surgery and structural heart treatment to interventional cardiology, cardiac rehabilitation and vascular treatment. For more information, visit

About Mission: Lifeline®
The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline® program helps hospitals and emergency medical services develop systems of care that follow proven standards and procedures for acute coronary syndrome patients. The program works by mobilizing teams across the continuum of care to implement American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology clinical treatment guidelines. For more information, visit

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