I recently attended a celebration for door-to-balloon time at Henry Ford Hospital.
It is a quality measure in the treatment of heart attacks, specifically an ST segment elevation myocardial infarction.
This particular form of heart attack has a high probability of destroying heart muscle, and leads to some of the direst of acute and chronic heart conditions.
The time interval measure starts when the patient arrives in the emergency department and ends when a cardiac catheterization wire, placed from the patient’s artery, crosses the blockage in the coronary artery.
This all sounds very technical, but it is easy to understand.
You are having a heart attack. The treatment is to quickly open the artery that is blocked. The technique used is by a heart catheter.
The longer it takes to open the artery, the more heart damage (“time is muscle”). And the more heart damage, the worse the patient does (“muscle is function”).
This measure is adopted as a core quality measure of how good a hospital performs in caring for heart patients.