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Heart and Vascular Center Performs 1,000 STEMI Procedure

The Heart and Vascular Center team at Lowell General Hospital reached a big milestone in January, performing their 1,000th emergent angioplasty to treat a ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) — what we know as a severe heart attack.

Led by cardiologists James Waters, MD, FACC; Omar Ali, MD, FACC; and Kirk MacNaught, MD, FACC, the Heart and Vascular Center team is able to treat these patients when minutes matter.

During a STEMI, patients are rushed into the Cardiac Catheterization Lab for an emergency procedure called a primary angioplasty, in which a tiny balloon is inserted to widen the artery at the point of the blockage. Data shows that when patients receive angioplasty within 90 minutes of suffering the heart attack, survival rates greatly improve. Few community hospitals even offer the procedure, and some nearby hospitals will transfer STEMI patients to Lowell General to have it performed.

The hospital was approved to perform emergent angioplasty in 2004 by the Department of Public Health. In 2006, the Heart and Vascular team began performing elective angioplasty for those patients with stable blockages to reduce the risk of heart attack. In addition, advances in catheterization techniques allow for the majority of cases (both elective and emergent) to be done by inserting the catheter through the radial artery in the wrist, as opposed to the groin. This approach, when possible, is safer for patients and involves less bleeding.

“This milestone is not only a testament to the dedication of our cardiac team, but to the patients and families that have been spared the devastating effects of a sudden heart attack,” notes Dr. Waters.

To learn more about cardiac programs and treatment, visit Heart and Vascular Center

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