All-hours heart ser­vice will be a real life­saver

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - by Alastair Irvine airvine@thek­m­group.co.uk

A NEW round-the-clock ser­vice to treat heart at­tack pa­tients from across Kent has been launched at Ash­ford’s Wil­liam Har­vey Hos­pi­tal.

The 24/7 spe­cial­ist cen­tre of­fers vic­tims pri­mary an­gio­plasty - the first line of treat­ment for se­vere heart attacks that na­tion­ally saves hun­dreds of lives each year.

Be­fore its in­tro­duc­tion, pa­tients who suf­fered a heart at­tack were given throm­bol­y­sis, the in­jec­tion of a clot bust­ing drug.

But new ev­i­dence has shown pri­mary an­gio­plasty for some types of heart attacks saves more lives and has a bet­ter long-term prog­no­sis.

An­gio­plasty is a pro­ce­dure to un­block an artery car­ry­ing blood to the heart. Un­der lo­cal anaes­thetic, a small bal­loon is in­serted via an artery in the groin or arm and guided to the block­age.

Once in place, the bal­loon is in­flated and re­moved, leav­ing be­hind a rigid ‘stent’ which al­lows blood to flow through.

Pa­tients with the most se­vere kind of heart at­tack suf­fer a com­plete block­age in an artery and it is this group - about 600 to 1,000 peo­ple in Kent each year - who are now be­ing treated with pri­mary an­gio­plasty at the new cen­tre.

The new sys­tem means a pa­tient’s elec­tro­car­dio­gram (ECG) re­sults can be sent straight from the am­bu­lance to the spe­cial­ist team at Ash­ford who can con­firm the type of heart at­tack while the pa­tient is on their way.

A sup­port team of car­di­ol­o­gists, nurses, ra­dio­g­ra­phers and car­diac phys­i­ol­o­gists can then be wait­ing, ready to op­er­ate.

Kent Car­dio­vas­cu­lar Net­work’s Clin­i­cal Lead and Con­sul­tant Car­di­ol­o­gist, Bet Mishra said: “To en­sure pa­tients re­cover well af­ter a heart at­tack, coro­nary artery flow needs to be reestab­lished as quickly as pos­si­ble to limit dam­age to the heart mus­cle.

“Clin­i­cal ev­i­dence shows that us­ing pri­mary an­gio­plasty as the main treat­ment for heart at­tack pa­tients will save about 240 more lives per year in the UK and lead to im­proved re­cov­ery for many oth­ers.

“It has fewer com­pli­ca­tions and re­duces the rates of fu­ture heart attacks.

“This life-sav­ing treat­ment will also re­duce the amount of time heart at­tack pa­tients spend in hos­pi­tal from around five to nine days af­ter throm­bol­y­sis to around three.

“The max­i­mum am­bu­lance trav­el­ling time from all post­codes in Kent will be 75 min­utes. How­ever, this is for stan­dard trav­el­ling time and not ‘blue light emer­gency travel’ and there­fore it is ex­pected that trav­el­ling times will ac­tu­ally be shorter.”

Pic­ture: Gary Browne PD1710435

Con­sul­tant car­di­ol­o­gist Dr Richard Hep­pel at the Wil­liam Har­vey Hos­pi­tal

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