Why have we changed?
Patients who have suffered an ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) heart attack used to be treated either by paramedic or by hospital staff with thrombolysis. This is a clot busting drug which dissolves the clot, allowing blood to flow freely through the blocked artery.
The Department of Health (DH) funded a study to look at the viability and cost effectiveness of delivering a 24/7 primary angioplasty (pPCI) service. The National Infarct Angioplasty Project (NIAP) was launched and produced its final document in October 2008. This report, as well as clinical evidence, suggested that a more effective intervention is pPCI, due to:
Better survival rates, post heart attack
Reduced rates of re-admission to hospital
Significant reduction in average length of stay within hospital, post heart attack
Faster recovery times
Better quality of life outcomes for the patient.
The final report of the NIAP report is available on the Department of Health website www.dh.gov.uk.
The provision of a 24/7 pPCI service means that if a patient has a confirmed STEMI, they will be taken immediately to a specialist pPCI centre. At that point they will under go an angiogram and any blockages or narrowing of the arteries can be identified. When this is known, and if appropriate, a stent can be located correctly and a balloon inflated to open up the artery. When the balloon is deflated, the stent will be left within the newly re-opened artery. It is specified that this service should deliver a maximum ‘call-to-balloon’ time of 150 minutes. This will therefore provide a significantly reduced total length of treatment, which could have potentially been as long as 8-12
This service is based at The William Harvey Hospital at Ashford.
A patient information leaflet is available to download click here.
We have published a newsletter celebrating the first 6 months of the service. Please click here to access.