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Friday, September 5, 2014

Doctors: More heart patients should be brought to Olean General Hospital

Doctors: More heart patients should be brought to Olean General Hospital

By Rick Miller, Olean Times Herald

ALLEGANY — The Interventional Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Olean General Hospital opened Oct. 1, 2013.

It is the only hospital in southwestern New York that can find and fix serious heart issues, Dr. Christopher Mallavarapu told members of the Cattaraugus County Board of Health on Wednesday.

Over the past 11 months, the cardiac lab, a partnership between Olean General Hospital and gates Vascular Institute in Buffalo, has done 554 procedures, including 1,211 interventions and 51 STEMIs (ST Segment Elevation Myocardial infarction), caused by prolonged blockage of blood supply in the heart.

Dr. Mallavarapu said, up until a few years ago, emergency medical services from fire departments around the county were trained to get heart attack victims to cardiac care as soon as possible. That usually meant a medical helicopter trip to hospitals in Buffalo, Rochester or Erie, Pa.

He spoke about the importance of the “golden hour” in treating heart attack victims. “Now, we can fix things (here) right away and save a significant amount of (heart) muscle.”

The average American male will have a heart attack by age 66; for women the is age 70, Dr. Mallavarapu said. Looking around the table at the Board of Health meeting at the St. Bonaventure Clubhouse, he said, “Everybody probably has some degree of (coronary) blockage.” Coupled with high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and other risk factors, an artery narrowed by plaque could burst, causing a major blockage leading to a heart attack.

“EMS plays a critical role here,” Dr. Mallavarapu said. Some can transmit EKGs of a patient from an ambulance en route to the hospital. In this case, the cardiac team is ready when the patient arrives at the door of the heart lab.

“The goal is to try to get (into the heart) within 60 minutes” of the attack, Dr. Mallavarapu said. Half of the patients arrive at the heart lab in ambulances, while about half are walk-ins who suspect they are having a heart attack. Read more...

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