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Program designates hospitals for some heart attack patients

ST. LOUIS – For Missourians suffering a particular type of serious heart attack, the nearest hospital may not be the best choice.

St. Louis Public Radio reports that the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has designated 23 hospitals as the most comprehensive centers for the most serious heart attacks.

The so-called STEMI centers were compiled as part of a decade-long effort by the state to create a process known as Time-Critical Diagnosis System.

Missouri lawmakers established the system in 2008, and it was already active for time-sensitive health issues like trauma and stroke.

Starting in May, the system also directs how emergency responders care for a certain type of serious heart attack called an ST-elevation myocardial infarction, in which a whole artery is plugged.