Cox Medical Center South was awarded Level I STEMI Center status by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. 

This recognition is for excellence in treating cardiac care and heart attack patients. It is the highest rank available.

CoxHealth treats thousands of heart attack patients each year and has received formal recognition for the care provided to major heart attack suffers. A STEMI is an ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, meaning a major artery is completely blocked at the time of the attack. This is a particularly deadly heart attack that requires urgent attention as it is extremely important to restore blood flow to the heart by opening up the vessel as soon as possible. Studies have shown if blood flow is restored within 120 minutes or less from the onset of symptoms the mortality rate is dramatically reduced.

The Level I difference

What does access to a Level I STEMI Center mean to you? It means we have everything in place to provide excellent, evidence-based care for you or your loved one when it is needed most.  

At Cox South, we have policy and procedures in place that allow us to get these critically ill patients from the ER door to lifesaving treatment in our cath lab in roughly 40-50 minutes. When EMS is involved, we can get you into the cath lab in about 70-80 minutes from the time the first responders pick you up at your home.  These times are well under the national average for heart attack care.    

Signs and symptoms of a heart attack include:
Signs and symptoms of a heart attack include: Chest pain—sometime the pain will feel like it is moving up into the shoulders, neck, arms, or jaw Nausea and sometimes abdominal pain
Signs and symptoms of a heart attack include: Shortness of breath Feeling cold and clammy
Signs and symptoms of a heart attack include: Unusual fatigue or tiredness Dizziness or fainting

If you experience any of these feelings of heart attack it is especially important to call 911.

Calling 911 is important in the event of a heart attack for three reasons:

  1. EMS personnel are trained to recognize heart attacks, especially a deadly heart attack. They can provide life-saving treatment while on route to the hospital.
  2. EMS personnel know which hospitals are best equipped to care for heart attack patients. Not all hospitals have cath labs and the specialist necessary to treat a heart attack 24/7.  
  3. EMS personnel are trained to radio ahead to the hospital and alert us you are coming in with a deadly event. Now, the heart team is ready and waiting for you upon arrival and can begin treatment immediately.  

The Level 1 designation officially recognizes that Cox South performs a minimum number of cardiac procedures each year, and has both an emergency cardiovascular team and on-site cardiac surgery available 24/7. It also officially designates Cox South as a resource center for hospitals within the region that conducts research, provides education and is a leader in process and quality improvement initiatives. Additionally, it means Cox South is equipped to deal with any STEMI-related complications a patient may encounter. 


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