New Cardiovascular Improvements & Services
Cardiac Associates continually evaluates the needs in the community and adjust and expand services to meet such needs. For example, an aging community means heart valves normally and naturally wear out, prompting improvements in valve replacement. A key development at Cardiac Associates has been TAVR, transcatheter aortic valve replacement, in which the aortic valve in some patients is replaced by advancing a new valve to the heart through a blood vessel, instead of with open-heart surgery.
New PCI Protocols
New protocols were established to allow patients who undergo percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI) to return home on the day of their procedure, if appropriate. PCI is a procedure that opens blocked arteries.
Leadless pacemakers are implanted directly in the heart. They send pulses to the heart to stabilize heartbeat when they detect a heartbeat that is too slow. Traditional pacemakers are surgically implanted just under the skin near the collarbone and are connected to the heart by thin wires, or leads, that deliver pulses to stabilize heartbeat.
Chest Pain Protocol
A low-risk chest pain protocol has been established for patients in the Emergency Department.
Under this system, if specific test results show a chest pain patient is at low risk for having a heart attack or does not need an emergency cardiac procedure, the patient can be sent home safely with an appointment for a stress test within the following one-to-three business days. National studies show this could involve up to one-third of chest pain patients, freeing up hospital beds for patients in more serious condition. Typically, low-risk chest pain patients at Concord Hospital are scheduled for a stress test the following day.
Cardiac Associates eliminated barriers to access to allow more patients to be seen by a provider. Improvements include revising scheduling to avoid provider gaps between appointments; making sure staffing is sufficient to complete documentation and prepare patients for appointments; making best use of exam rooms; and, when appropriate, having patients see a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant, rather than a physician.
Rather than using the Impella® heart pump device only during emergency life-saving procedures, providers now are using the device in planned, complex procedures, protecting more fragile patients during procedures they otherwise would not be eligible for.