The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services this month recognized an area hospital as a place where patients can receive acute heart attack care.
St. Mary's Hospital in Jefferson City received the designation as a Level 2 STEMI Center. STEMI stands for ST elevation miocardial infarction, where "ST" represents a specific pattern on an EKG.
Capital Region Medical Center received the designation in March. Lake Regional Hospital in Osage Beach also is a Level 2 center.
The designation means the hospitals provide a high level of care to a great number of patients experiencing trauma, stroke and heart attacks in which one of the heart's major arteries is blocked.
At Level 3, hospitals can administer treatments, such as tissue plasminogen activator, but still must send patients to an institution with a higher level of care. The activator, the only FDA-approved treatment for specific strokes, is given intravenously. It must be given within the first 4.5 hours of the beginning of the stroke and dissolves the clot that's preventing blood flow to parts of the brain.
At Level 2, when the drug is given, patients can remain at the facility.
University of Missouri Hospital and Clinics and Boone Hospital Center, both in Columbia, are Level 1 centers that have neurosurgeons on staff 24 hours a day.