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New Program Speeds Up Cardiac Emergency Care

October 03, 2011

Decatur, GA -- DeKalb Medical is pleased to announce the launch of its Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) program. PCI, also known as coronary angioplasty, is a minimally invasive procedure that quickly allows cardiologists to both examine and immediately unblock blood flow to the heart. DeKalb Medical's PCI program helps patients in cardiac emergency get life-saving treatment faster because it eliminates transfers to other hospitals in many cases. Patients now move from the Emergency Room door to the cardiac catheterization lab in less than the national 90 minutes average. DeKalb Medical's current door-to-balloon rate averages 68 minutes. In addition, with timely access to PCI, patients return home quicker.

The PCI Center at DeKalb Medical's North Decatur hospital houses two cardiac cath labs and 15 patient bays that provide cardiac emergency coverage. "We are fortunate to have the services of three experienced and respected interventional cardiologists Mirza Ahmed, M.D., Marc Unterman, M.D. and Larry Van-Thomas Crisco, M.D., along with the enthusiastic and active involvement of both the Hospitalist Group and Emergency Department physicians and staff," says Patrick Green, Executive Director of Heart and Vascular Services.

The PCI program culminates more than two years of planning, training and implementation. Throughout the development process, DeKalb Medical worked with Corazon, Inc., a leader in heart and vascular strategic program development that has helped hospitals throughout the United States ensure the quality of their PCI programs. "Our engagement with Corazon provides us the benefit of experience from similar programs as well as input from an objective outside voice," Green adds.

DeKalb Medical at North Decatur was approved by the State of Georgia Department of Community Health in 2010 to become a Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) provider. The State began allowing hospitals without on-site open heart surgery programs to offer angioplasty in 2008, provided that they can demonstrate adherence to strict quality criteria. This decision follows an extensive study which concluded that co-location of cardiac surgery sites is not necessary to improve cardiac patient outcomes.
Ambulances are on standby to transfer high-risk patients to St. Joseph Hospital for further evaluation and treatment. Other Atlanta-area hospitals successfully performing PCI without an on-site cardiac surgery center include Gwinnett Medical, Emory Johns Creek, Northside-Atlanta, Northside-Forsythe and Southern Regional Medical Center.

About DeKalb Medical

With more than 800 doctors skilled in 55 medical specialties, DeKalb Medical combines cutting-edge technology with compassion to effectively diagnose and treat our patients. A leader in cancer, heart attack treatment and orthopedics, our non-profit health system and DeKalb Medical Physicians have been growing with metro-Atlanta’s medical needs since 1961.

More than just a provider of hospital services, DeKalb Medical has helped usher in a new era of electronic medical records that puts information at your doctor’s fingertips for improved patient safety and outcomes. Our 627-bed system includes DeKalb Medical at North Decatur (451 beds), DeKalb Medical Long Term Acute Care at Downtown Decatur (76 beds) and DeKalb Medical at Hillandale (100 beds). Committed to pushing beyond to excel in patient satisfaction and service, our quality is reflected in many clinical excellence awards throughout our three-hospital system including recently ranking in the Top 5% in the Nation for Overall Orthopedic Services by HealthGrades® (2011).

Media Contact: Tori Vogt MBA
tori.vogt@dekalbmedical.org/ 404.501.2885

2701 North Decatur Road Decatur, GA 30033
Patient Inquiries: 404.501.5200

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