January 30, 2008 - Marietta Memorial Offering Lifesaving Angioplasty

(Marietta, OH, January 30, 2008) - Marietta Memorial Hospital announces the availability of both emergent and elective heart angioplasty services. Until now, heart attack patients treated at Marietta Memorial had to be transferred to other facilities.

“Being able to perform primary angioplasty increases our community’s access to this important procedure,” says Joseph Mayo, M.D., interventional cardiologist at Marietta Memorial. “Heart attack patients can now get the very best care at Marietta Memorial, and as efficiently and effectively as anywhere else. Timing is crucial because the quicker that blood flow can be restored, the smaller the heart attack and the better the outcome.”

According to Marietta Memorial President & CEO Larry Unroe, “The addition of emergent angioplasty services is allowing the timely delivery of state-of-the-art cardiovascular care to our patients. At the same time, it is ensuring continuity of care and maximizing patient and family comfort.”

Angioplasty has gained widespread acceptance as the preferred approach for treating acute heart attacks. It involves threading a small catheter into a coronary vessel and placing a stent to open the vessel and restore circulation. It has proven to be an effective and immediate intervention for acute heart attacks.

Care of a heart attack patient usually begins in the emergency room, and Marietta Memorial’s Emergency physicians and staff have worked closely with the cardiac team on the new service. According to Mayo, “Our emergency physicians are experts at caring for patients during that critical first hour after arrival at the ED.”

The medical team that performs the procedure can be mobilized on very short notice, Dr. Mayo explains, with a maximum elapsed time of 90 minutes between the patient’s arrival at the ER and “balloon time”—that is, the moment at which the problem artery is opened.

In addition, the hospital is offering elective angioplasty as part of a John Hopkins University study to examine whether the procedure can be safely performed in smaller, community hospitals.

About 40 community hospitals in various states are participating in the study, which began in 2005. Special waivers from state authorities are required for participating community hospitals. Most states' health care regulations limit the availability of angioplasty in community hospitals to emergency situations, such as during a heart attack. In all other cases, patients must be transferred to another hospital that has on-site, specialized heart surgery backup.

Researchers say there is a large and growing number of people who could benefit from angioplasty. The benefit to patients is earlier, more effective treatment and the ability to receive the most advanced cardiac treatment closer to home.
Conducted by the Cardiovascular Patient Outcomes Research Team, or C-PORT, the study’s preliminary results show that patients having heart attacks fared much better if they were treated with balloon angioplasty than so-called clot-busting (thrombolytics) drugs.

In the study, elective patients are randomly assigned to have angioplasty at either the community hospital without on-site cardiac surgery where they underwent diagnostic catheterization or at a center with on-site cardiac surgery for angioplasty, which is the usual treatment. Each participant's progress is followed by the researchers for a period of nine months to determine their health status and whether they have any subsequent problems related to their heart.

The hospital also offers a full range of cardiac diagnostic tests, inpatient and outpatient cardiac care, as well as a cardiac rehabilitation program.

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