South Florida Hospital News
Thursday August 6, 2020
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December 2006 - Volume 3 - Issue 6
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Commentary: Are Hospitals Too Slow on Heart Attacks?

The following commentary is in response to the article "Hospitals Too Slow on Heart Attacks" by Steve Sternberg that appeared in the Nov 13, 2006 issue of USA Today. You can go to the website www.usatoday.com to read the entire article.

The findings explained have been making news in publications across the country. For the last several weeks, a new spin on the "time to treatment" for angioplasty story has been front-page headline news…Increasing mortality risks due to longer treatment times confirms the knowledge that Corazon (and others on the forefront of the cardiovascular field) has been expressing for years: "time is myocardium." This means that the longer a patient waits for treatment for chest-pain or heart attack, the more damage the heart muscle will sustain.

With the onset of this story, Corazon believes that the industry will continue to see growth in the number of hospitals moving towards offering angioplasty...especially in community and/or rural areas where open heart surgery can be provided by a tertiary partner. However, legislative bodies in many states still dictate what a hospital can and cannot do within their cath lab. Increasing patient access to life-saving coronary intervention should be the ultimate goal, though the procedure should be offered in a high-quality, fast, and efficient way to save lives.

Some states, such as Florida, are taking steps to reevaluate their laws; with increasing need and evidence that continually supports the safety and efficacy of angioplasty for treatment of heart attack, greater access to care can be the only solution.

But quality, of course, is key. Establishing a quality angioplasty program, including policies, procedures, and standards of care for the Emergency Department, Cath Lab, and Ambulance teams, will be most important moving forward.

Karen Hartman, COO of Corazon Inc. and President, Corazon Consulting, can be reached at (412) 364-8200 or khartman@corazoninc.com.
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