Hospital Gets Angioplasty Permission

August 16, 2004
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HOLLAND — The pending launch of a life-saving procedure for heart attack victims follows Holland Community Hospital’s strategy of expanding certain clinical services where it makes sense, in this case cardiac care.

Holland Community Hospital is the latest in the West Michigan market to win state permission to perform emergency coronary angioplasty for certain patients who come into the emergency rooms having a heart attack and who require the procedure to save their lives.

“We want our community to have the same standard of care if they have a heart attack as they have 20 miles down the road,” said Patti Van Oordt, vice president of nursing at Holland Community Hospital. “It’s part of our ongoing commitment to our community.”

The hospital expects to launch the service in mid-2005 following an extensive planning and preparation process. That includes putting in place clinical protocols that will dictate when the emergency procedure is done locally and when a patient is considered a high risk and transferred to Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids.

Under state certificate-of-need regulations enacted a year ago, hospitals with cardiac catheter labs may seek approval to perform emergency angioplasty as a life-saving technique. The procedure, known as percutaneous coronary intervention, was previously limited to hospitals with open-heart programs, which in West Michigan are Spectrum Health and Muskegon’s Mercy General Health Partners.

Proponents of the rule change argued that more hospitals, under certain conditions, could perform emergency angioplasty safely, resulting in better patient care, higher survival rates and improved chances of recovery for heart attack patients. Research shows angioplasty is most effective for heart attack patients when performed within 60 minutes of the onset of symptoms, a period known as the “golden hour.”

For Holland patients, at least half and probably much more of that “golden hour” is taken up just by transporting them to Grand Rapids.

Metropolitan Hospital and Saint Mary’s Mercy Medical Center in Grand Rapids both received approval in late June from the Michigan Department of Community Health to perform emergency coronary angioplasty for patients deemed a low risk.

Holland Community Hospital performed about 500 catheterization diagnostic procedures in its most recent fiscal year and anticipates performing about 70 emergency angioplasties in the first 12 months after launching the procedure, said Todd Knight, catheter lab manager.

State CON rules require a hospital lacking an open-heart program and wanting to perform emergency angioplasty to show that it has done 400 diagnostic cardiac catheterizations in the last year, has at least two experienced interventional cardiologists who have performed at least 75 procedures annually in the last two years, and has a written agreement with an open-heart facility to address staff training, credentialing, case reviews and the transfer of patients within one hour when needed.    

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