When experiencing an acute myocardial infarction (AMI), more commonly known as a heart attack, patients need rapid treatment in order to open up and reestablish blood flow within the coronary artery. By far, the most common way to do this is an invasive procedure that allows a physician to inflate a tiny balloon into the plaque-filled area of the artery. The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) have established a 90-minute goal for this procedure, which means that, from the time a patient enters the door of the emergency department (ED), the medical team has 90 minutes to assess, diagnose, prepare, and treat the patient with the balloon inflation procedure. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the 90-minute benchmark goal was being met in patients presenting to the emergency room with an AMI in an urban acute care hospital in Northwest Arkansas. If the time was not met, factors that influenced the delay were explored. A retrospective chart review was conducted on patients (N =70) admitted to the ED with an AMI and subsequently taken to the cardiac catheterization lab for balloon inflation between March 1, 2008 and March 31, 2009. Only 70% of the hospital’s patients met the benchmark goal. Specific time intervals were studied to determine where delays were occurring, and demographic factors were examined to explore differences between groups meeting and not meeting the benchmark. Recommendations for additional research and changes in hospital procedures were made.

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