St. Bernards Medical Center Celebrates 40 Years of Heart Care; New Heart, Stroke Awards

Physician specialists with the St. Bernards Heart Care team celebrate 40 years of heart services with a cake cutting ceremony on Friday. These physicians include (from left to right): Drs. Ahmed Ahmed, Roger Hill, Barry Tedder, Jack McKee, Jamie Chavez, Lena Awar, Max Arroyo and Devi Nair.

JONESBORO, Ark. – St. Bernards Medical Center celebrated 40 years of heart care services on Friday, coinciding with the hospital receiving four new awards from the American Heart Association for providing outstanding heart and stroke care.

The hospital hosted a short program and luncheon in honor of its heart care and emergency teams and the first responders who ensure the program’s success.

St. Bernards Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Roger Hill has worked at St. Bernards since it installed its first heart care services. He says the hospital began its cardiac catheterization (cath) lab in 1983, using cath devices to treat heart attack patients with medication. The program expanded two years later, bringing the first heart surgery option to northeast Arkansas. It now includes 18 board-certified physicians who provide seamless, comprehensive cardiovascular care, from prevention and wellness initiatives to cardiac rehabilitation programs.

“Cardiovascular services have changed dramatically over the past four decades,” Dr. Hill said. “40 years ago, we didn’t have any of the modern options we now use, whether a patient has a blockage, an electrical issue or a structural problem. I’m proud of how far we’ve come and that St. Bernards led the way. Our new awards reflect that work.”

These awards include recognition from the American Heart Association for STEMI and NSTEMI heart attack care, a regional award and a new recognition for stroke care. An advanced primary heart attack center certified by The Joint Commission, St. Bernards Medical Center earned the highest possible recognition, Gold Plus and Gold, for STEMI and NSTEMI care. In addition, it earned Silver Plus for stroke care and the Regional Award for overall heart services.

“We are pleased to recognize St. Bernards Medical Center for its commitment to caring for those in their community who need cardiovascular care,” said John Warner, M.D., FAHA, past president of the American Heart Association and CEO of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “Hospitals that follow the American Heart Association’s quality improvement protocols often see improved patient outcomes, fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates – a win for health care systems, families and communities.”

As background, a STEMI heart attack, or ST-elevation myocardial infarction, is one of the more severe heart attacks, occurring when a coronary artery experiences a complete blockage. An NSTEMI heart attack, or non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction, occurs when an artery encounters a partial blockage, severely reducing blood flow.

To date, St. Bernards has performed more than 500,000 heart procedures, encompassing general cardiology, interventional cardiology, cardiovascular surgery, cardiac electrophysiology and vascular and endovascular surgery, among others.

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