DeKalb Medical PCI Program Saves Lives
October 04, 2012
Atlanta, GA – In just 17 months, the DeKalb Medical Heart and Vascular Institute has successfully saved over 500 hearts by providing percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI) services. PCI, commonly known as coronary angioplasty and stenting, or simply angioplasty, is a non-surgical procedure used to treat narrowed coronary arteries of the heart that can cause heart attacks.
“We saw a need in our community, so we implemented this PCI program and are very proud of how many lives have been saved as a result,” Executive Director of Heart and Vascular Services Patrick Green said.
Before establishing the service in May 2011, patients who came to DeKalb Medical in emergent or acute distress were examined to determine their heart problem, but were subsequently transferred to another facility for a PCI. Now, the DeKalb Medical Heart and Vascular Institute provides diagnosis and treatment, which has led to much-improved outcomes and a steady increase in patient volume.
When a patient comes to DeKalb Medical with signs of a heart attack, he or she is taken to the cardiac catherization laboratory where a diagnostic test is conducted to determine if there are blockages and their severity. If there are blockages, the cardiologist performing the diagnostic study consults with an intervening cardiologist, such as DeKalb Medical’s Medical Director of Interventional Cardiology Dr. Mirza Ahmed. He makes the determination if a PCI is needed immediately, can be scheduled in the next few days, or if the blockage can be treated medically instead of intervening.
PCI is far less invasive than open heart surgery, greatly reducing recovery time and risk. There is no cutting, and the procedure is done with wires, stents and balloons through catheters placed in the patients’ arteries. Dr. Ahmed and other interventional cardiologists on staff at DeKalb Medical typically need an hour for the PCI procedure. Afterward, the patient recovers and is usually monitored for 24 to 48 hours before going home.
Dr. Ahmed recommends all PCI patients participate in DeKalb Medical’s Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab Program where they will improve exercise ability, reduce cardiac symptoms and gain positive psychosocial well-being through a personalized plan working with trained professionals.
“There’s a great deal of comfort for the patient knowing they are rehabilitating while their heart is being monitored right here at the hospital,” Green said.
As part of growing its services, the DeKalb Medical Heart and Vascular Institute has also started a cardio electrophysiology program, which deals with the electrical activities of the heart such as its signals and rhythms. This program is in the early stages of development and is being overseen by Dr. Zoubin Alikhani, a recent addition to the DeKalb Medical Heart and Vascular Institute team.
“We expect the electrophysiology program to be as beneficial to cardiac rhythm patients in our community as the PCI program has been for patients with heart blockages,” Green said.