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CVMC saves lives by streamlining cardiac care services


SYLACAUGA, Ala. – Every second counts in a healthcare emergency, especially those concerning cardiac issues. Luckily, Coosa Valley Medical Center is fully equipped to handle cardiac emergencies right here in Sylacauga for those in South Talladega County and its surrounding areas.

CVMC’s catheterization laboratory opened in 2012, and, outside of a brief period of time, was considered ‘diagnostic only’ from a coronary standpoint. This means once the hospital was able to diagnose an issue, the patient would be referred to a Birmingham hospital for treatment. CVMC and its team, along with Alabama Cardiovascular Group, have worked hard to to create a new and better normal for cardiac patients which now includes percutaneous coronary interventions.

Every time a heart operation takes place, there is risk involved. How do you limit risk? By limiting the amount of times you operate on the muscle. How do you limit the amount of operations? By offering state of the art care through better technology all in one place. That is what CVMC has done for those who have suffered a STEMI heart attack.

“When you’re dealing with the heart there is always going to be risk associated, so when you reduce the number of times that you go in and work on the heart, you’re reducing the risk, and improving the outcome,” said Jeremy Herring, Director of Imaging and CV Services at CVMC.

A STEMI heart attack is a serious form of heart attack in which a coronary artery is completely blocked and a large part of the heart muscle is unable to receive blood. For every single minute a person waits between the time they first feel symptoms of a heart attack to the time they are treated, the chance of survival decreases.

This is when the quality care close to home that CVMC offers matters.

The American Heart Association’s guidelines recommends that the artery be reopened within 90 minutes following the heart attack for best patient outcomes. If a patient has to dial 911, wait for an ambulance, and then ride 45 minutes to a Birmingham hospital, precious time has just ticked away. CVMC can save that time for patients, and with that, save their lives.

The door-in to door-out time for STEMI heart attack patients is quite remarkable. CVMC’s time is an average of 35 minutes. That’s right, just 35 minutes. That is a feat in which the community should be proud.

“It has saved a lot of lives,” said Chief Nursing and Operating Officer Amy Price.

Now that the procedure is complete, what about recovery? CVMC has the patient taken care of every step of the way.

After the procedure the hospital puts the patient through cardiac rehab where they are monitored by the best healthcare professionals using the latest technology.

“We’re keeping a patient in one healthcare system,” explained Herring. “What we’ve seen is a patient comes in through the emergency department, goes to the catheterization laboratory, has the procedure, finishes cardiac rehab and uses our apothecary. To see that come together, and for the patient to get a complete experience in one place is great.” 

CVMC has received very positive feedback from its patients following these procedures. “If people wanted to be in Birmingham, they would be,” Herring said. “Our patients enjoy being able to stay close to their home and family. Continuity in care is invaluable, because you build a relationship.”

As Herring stated before, the hospitals partnership with Alabama Cardiovascular Group has been pivotal in this process. Glenn C. Sisk, President and CEO of CVMC remarked, “We are thrilled to now have an active PCI (percutaneous coronary interventions) program in place at Coosa Valley Medical Center. This affords our patient population the ability to not only have diagnostic cardiac catheterizations  performed in our Cardiac Cath Lab but also stent placement when needed. We are thankful for our partnership with the physicians and staff of the Alabama Cardiovascular Group (ACG) who are leading this effort. This team performs hundreds of these procedures annually in their Birmingham practice and CVMC and the patients we serve are now extremely fortunate to bring this service to the market.”

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