UW Hospital's Care for Heart Attack Patients Rated Best in the Nation

the heartMADISON - University of Wisconsin Hospital provides the safest, fastest heart attack care available, according to a study of academic medical centers released in 2004. This "best performance" was recognized by University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) in a bench-marking study on core measures for acute myocardial infarction (AMI), or heart attack care.
UW Hospital achieved the best overall score, outperforming other hospitals in the study on eight criteria critical to providing optimal care for patients with acute myocardial infarction. The study evaluated records of patient care for nine months. The comparison of UW Hospital with other hospitals in the study, and with national statistics, showed:
  • The mortality rate for patients at UW Hospital was only half the rate that would be expected based on severity of illness across the nation
  • The earlier coronary angioplasty is used, the more effective it is in reducing heart damage and death. UW Hospital's average time is lower than 90 minutes and has been as low as 33 minutes. (Nationally, the ideal "gold standard" for the time from ER arrival to balloon angioplasty in the catheterization lab is 90 minutes, while 120 minutes is acceptable.)
  • Critical life-saving medications such as aspirin and beta blockers are used at UW Hospital 98 to 100 percent of the time

"UHC benchmarking projects rank participants on key clinical performance measures and identify those exhibiting best practices. Sixty-one academic medical centers participated in this AMI benchmarking study and UW was among those that rose to the top," said Joanne Cuny, program director for clinic process improvement at University HealthSystem Consortium. "They leave little room for improvement."


UHC is a national alliance of the clinical enterprises of academic health centers. As an idea-generating and information-disseminating enterprise, UHC helps members pool resources, create economies of scale, improve clinical and operating efficiencies, and influence the direction and delivery of health care.