Hallmark selected to participate in angioplasty trial

Kapfhammer is anticipating 100 elective angioplasty procedures to be performed in this coming year.

"The physicians and staff are committed to the success of the initiative," Kapfhammer said.

 
Interventional cardiologist, Laurence Conway, MD, left, Elaine Gale, Hallmark Health director or cardiac and endovascular services, and Steven Kapfhammer, executive vice president, Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, in the cardiac catheterization lab at Melrose- Wakefield Hospital. (Courtesy)
Kapfhammer also explained the difference between the two procedures. In an emergent angioplasty, the patient is brought in by an ambulance and is in the middle of experiencing cardiac arrest when he or she reaches the hospital. Melrose-Wakefield has been performing around 40 emergent procedures per year since 2004.

Due to a high success rate with the practice and a door-to-balloon time that was below the national average - about 93 minutes compared to 155 minutes - the hospital was selected to participate in the trial, which focuses on angioplasties performed prior to a heart attack, called elective angioplasties.

In both procedures, a balloon is inserted into an artery and then expanded so that the artery widens to allow blood to flow to the heart after a clot is removed. Then, a metal stent is inserted to keep the artery from either narrowing again or collapsing. The entire process takes an hour and a half.

The process of an elective angioplasty comes with a low complication rate, but the hospital has protocols in place in case difficulties arise. In such a situation, the patient would receive care from Mass General Hospital, which performs open-heart surgery.

However, if Melrose-Wakefield can prove that it can perform the elected procedures just as safely onsite as at a tertiary facility - which Kapfhammer hopes this trial will show - it would be beneficial to the community, saving residents the time and money it would take to travel into Boston.

"The patients want it done here because they’re comfortable here," Kapfhammer said.

"We offer outstanding quality care in a community setting."

Currently, the hospital has the distinction of being the only community hospital to offer both types of angioplasties.

"We have high quality lab, physicians and staff who are dedicated and concerned about their patients being cared for appropriately," said Kapfhammer. "They [want] access to [elective angioplasties] to make sure that we can meet the needs of the community in which we serve."

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