May 27, 2011
Valley Regional Medical Center’s Heart Program Leading the Way
Brownsville, Texas, February 14, 2011—Valley Regional Medical Center (VRMC) now offers a safer, more comfortable cardiac catheterization procedure called a transradial approach. A cardiac catheterization is used to diagnose and treat certain heart conditions by measuring blood flow to the heart and testing how well the heart is pumping. It can also detect blockages in arteries and deploy stents to reestablish the critical blood flow to the heart's muscle.
The procedure is performed on more than one million U.S. patients each year. The most common practice for cardiac catheterization has been to thread a thin tube called a catheter into the heart through an incision in the groin. This approach requires patients to lie on their backs and remain still for up to six hours reduce the risk of complications.
Cardiologists at Valley Regional Medical Center are now initiating catheterization through the wrist (the transradial approach). Using the wrist means doctors gain access to the heart through the radial artery in the arm rather than the femoral artery in the groin. The radial technique is associated with less pain, fewer bleeding complications and a quicker return to normal activities.
“I feel comfortable and very happy that I didn’t have to lay flat on my back for 8 hours, said Jesus Garcia, the first patient to undergo this procedure at VRMC.
Valley Regional Medical Center began researching the transradial approach in the fall of 2010. The cardiac cath lab staff and all cardiologists were trained in this cutting edge approach and began offering this option to their patients last month.
During the month of January 30% of VRMC patients received this procedure with a 100 percent success rate. Because of the increasing numbers of patients receiving cardiac catheterization at VRMC, construction is scheduled to begin on a second catheterization (cath) lab next month.
“Currently about 8% of cardiac catheterizations performed in the U.S. use the transradial approach,” says Kalim Habet, a interventional cardiologist at VRMC. “We’ve been very pleased with the results we have seen from our patients using this state-of-the art technology.”
“Once you start doing transradial, you get a tremendous amount of positive reinforcement from your patients, says Roberto Robles, a cardiologist who performed the first transradial procedure at VRMC. “There are not many things you can do in interventional cardiology to get this amount of positive feedback. This new procedure is definitely one where patients can tell the difference.”
“This innovative approach can help physicians offer the best, most up-to-date care for our patients”, said David Handley, CEO VRMC.
Valley Regional Medical Center continues to be a leader in offering state-of-the art technology. In 2009 VRMC introduced the Abiomed Impella 2.5, a heart pump the size of a pencil eraser. This device provides additional pumping support for the patient during a high risk interventional heart procedure. VRMC performed the first patient procedure in the Rio Grande Valley utilizing the pump, and is currently one of only two hospitals offering this procedure in the valley.
As a leader in cardiac care Valley Regional Medical Center also maintains a high standard of care in our acute heart attack patient door to balloon time. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and The Joint Commission, that certifies hospitals for performance and quality standards, currently recommend that when patients arrive at a designated facility like VRMC, it should take less than 90 minutes from the moment the patient comes through the door of the emergency department to restore blood flow to the arteries surrounding the heart in the cardiac cath lab. Valley Regional’s current door to balloon time average is 53 minutes; much lower than the national recommendation.
In order to expedite the treatment of heart attack patients, emergency responders are trained to communicate with hospital personnel (interventional cardiologists, CV nurses, and technicians) and utilize equipment such as a portable electrocardiogram (ECG) purchased for emergency responders by VRMC last year. The team can then prepare in advance for the arrival of the patient directly to the cath lab, eliminating the need to go through the emergency department.
“Community wide EMTs and paramedics are working in concert with nurses, emergency physicians and cardiologists,” said William Brown CVRN, Manager of Cardiac Cath Lab. “The result is evident by our continuously improving door to balloon numbers. This has dramatically reduced the amount of heart damage our patients have suffered during a heart attack. The sooner a person recognizes they are experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack and calls for help (9-1-1), the better the results will be.”
Last month Valley Regional Medical Center received the Brownsville Herald Reader’s Choice award for the Best Hospital for 2010. This recognition confirms Valley Regional Medical Center’s commitment to provide the best quality of care to our community.
About Valley Regional Medical Center
Valley Regional Medical Center is a 214 licensed bed facility conveniently located at the corner of Expressway 77 and Alton Gloor Blvd. With over 200 physicians representing over 25 specialties, Valley Regional Medical Center is a leader in a vast array of high quality programs, including, advanced diagnostic imaging, interventional cardiac catheterization, open heart surgery, laparoscopic and endoscopic surgeries, neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, women’s services, pediatric services and neonatal intensive care. Our Emergency Department is a designated as a Level III Trauma Center treating a wide range of emergent needs 24 hours a day. For more information on Valley Regional Medical Center’s programs and services, visit our website at www.valleyregionalmedicalcenter.com
About HCA Gulf Coast Division
HCA Gulf Coast Division is a comprehensive network of hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, emergency centers, cancer centers and diagnostic imaging facilities. It offers a complete continuum of specialized health programs and services that meet the needs of Greater Houston and South Texas residents and businesses. HCA affiliated facilities in the Gulf Coast Division include 12 hospitals, 7 ambulatory surgery centers, 4 free standing emergency centers, 5 imaging centers, 5 cancer care programs and a Regional Transfer Center. The Regional Transfer Center provides ground and air patient transportation to and from any HCA Houston Affiliated Hospital and any other healthcare facilities.