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Grand Strand Medical Center
South Strand Medical Center

Door to Balloon Time

Because of the adage “time is muscle”, meaning that delays in treating a heart attack increase the likelihood and amount of heart muscle damage, the American College of Cardiology and the American Hospital Association guidelines recommend a door-to-balloon interval of no more than 90 minutes.

Door-to-balloon is the response time from a patient's arrival at the hospital to when the blocked artery is cleared in the cardiac catheterization laboratory. Grand Strand Medical Center is very proud of its average door-to-balloon time of 38 minutes in 2012 compared to the national benchmark.

Current door to balloon times are posted on the home page at

Hospital officials, physicians and heart staff meet regularly with EMS personnel and area hospitals to expedite care for STEMI patients, the most severe type of heart attack.

The American College of Cardiology (ACC) launched a national Door-to-Balloon (D2B) Initiative in November 2006. The D2B Alliance seeks to “take the extraordinary performance of a few hospitals and make it the ordinary performance of every hospital.”

The D2B Alliance advocates six key strategies and one optional strategy to help reduce door-to-balloon times:

  1. ED physician activates the cath lab
  2. Single-call activation system activates the cath lab
  3. Cath lab team is available within 20-30 minutes
  4. Prompt data feedback
  5. Senior management commitment
  6. Team based approach