Friday, 16 March 2007 00:00
Weekend Heart AttacksWritten by WGCU Newsroom
A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows there’s a growing, nationwide trend of hospitals unable to provide emergency angioplasties on heart attack victims over the weekend. But that’s NOT the case here in Southwest Florida.
Medical Director of the Heart & Vascular Institute for Lee Memorial Health Systems - Peter Sidell - practiced cardiac surgery in Fort Myers from 1977 until 2004.
He says this area has 3 hospitals, including Lee Memorial Health Park, that are capable of doing angioplasties on short notice – 24-7.
“What we already have now is…if somebody shows up in the emergency room and a diagnosis of a heart attack is made. Arrangements are made to get them quickly to the catheterization laboratory with a cardiologist there standing by to do a heart catheterization. And then if a stint is appropriate to do that. And if not the decision will be made as to whether or not a heart operation would be appropriate.”
Dr. Sidell says Lee Memorial has joined what’s called the national ‘door to balloon alliance’ – with the goal of shortening the time from admittance to angioplasty...to hopefully within 90 minutes.
He says his main advice for anyone who thinks they’re having a heart attack…call an ambulance, because EMT’s will know which hospital to go to for the right kind of care.
NPR broadcast a story last week about a report in the recent New England Journal of Medicine that basically said, if you’re going to have a heart attack, don’t do it over the weekend.
That’s because many hospitals don’t have the resources to offer around the clock angioplasties…and weekends that often get cut back.
But Medical Director at Lee Memorial’s Heart & Vascular Institute – Dr. Peter Sidell – says that’s not the case in Southwest Florida. He says three area hospitals perform the service, - 24-7.
But his number one advice: if you suspect a heart attack, don’t drive yourself or even get a ride to the hospital…call an ambulance!
“The EMT’s are pretty good about figuring out which hospital people need to go to. They’ll do an electrocardiogram, and if that’s abnormal they’ll know to take you to one of the hospitals where they can do the intervention related to heart problems. Plus, once you show up at a hospital in an ambulance you know, they get you into a room quickly. They do an electrocardiogram quickly…things get expedited better.”
Dr. Sidell says heart care is a high priority here in Southwest Florida, with the area’s large senior population.
He says Southwest Florida Regional, Health Park, and Naples Community hospital all have programs designed to get heart attack victims to the catheterization lab as quickly as possible.