Skip to Content

Door-to-Balloon Time

Quick Treatment for Heart Attack

From the moment a blood clot forms and a patient experiences the first symptom of a heart attack, a race against time begins.

With each minute that passes, the heart muscle is progressively damaged and the patient’s condition worsens. While the damage cannot be reversed, it can be reduced through the quick restoration of blood flow

Better than the national average

Because every minute matters, specialists in cardiovascular care at Memorial Hermann review every aspect of the treatment process - from patient arrival (door) to the start of treatment (balloon). With this process, Memorial Hermann hospitals have a time to treatment far ahead of the national average. 

The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association have developed national guidelines calling for a door-to-balloon time of less than 90 minutes for hospitals that offer direct angioplasty. 

Advanced in heart attack treatment

The emphasis on quality improvement has led to numerous advances in the management of heart attack, including:

  • An average time to first electrocardiogram of 6.2 minutes, consistent with the national goal of 10 minutes or less
  • Development and implementation of ECG transmission from the field
  • Tiered emergency response to dispatch more highly trained paramedics, rather than EMTs, to respond to cardiac emergences, such as cardiac arrest
  • Implementation of a paramedic squad to respond to high-volume areas of the metro area

What is "door-to-balloon?"

One of the most effective treatments for a heart attack is angioplasty, a procedure during which a small balloon is inflated to open blocked arteries. The time from when a patient enters the emergency room until the angioplasty balloon is inserted is critical. The lower the "door-to-balloon" time, the better the patient's outcome.