Miminally Invasive Ways to Keep the Beat
Hartford Hospital is one of the leading hospitals in the country in survival rates among patients with heart attacks.
Coronary artery disease is a blockage or narrowing of the blood vessels of the heart that can cause chest pain and heart attack. Treating it used to require open heart-bypass surgery. But today, patients are increasingly being treated with the minimally invasive procedure “coronary angioplasty.”
During coronary angioplasty, the physician, viewing the patient’s arteries on a fluoroscope, threads a catheter through a small incision in the groin and into the openings of the coronary arteries. He or she then uses the catheter to advance a balloon that widens the artery and, often, to put a stent in place to keep the artery open.
“Thirty years ago, coronary angioplasty became the first alternative to bypass surgery,” says Francis Kiernan MD, an interventional cardiologist and Director of Hartford Hospital’s Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory. “Now, nationwide, more people are treated with this technique than with coronary bypass surgery.”
Dr. Kiernan says that coronary angioplasty and stenting is the preferred treatment for patients who are having a heart attack. “We’ve found we can more reliably open the artery with angioplasty techniques than with medication. Patients have a greater chance of survival with angioplasty than with medication alone,” he says.
Hartford Hospital’s 24-hour Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory and its dedicated group of interventional cardiologists ensure that this life-saving, minimally invasive therapy is available to patients day or night.
Harford Hospital is one of the leading hospitals in the country in survival rates among patients with heart attacks. Dr. Kiernan says the hospital’s success is due to “a coordinated effort involving the Emergency Department, the cath lab staff, clinical cardiologists and the intensive care units. It also involves LIFE STAR, which transports patients here from other hospitals where they can’t receive such a high a level of care.”
Photo Above: Francis J. Kiernan, MD