Quick identification, intervention keys to treatment at Rome Memorial Hospital

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Quick identification and intervention, diagnostics and continuing education key to Rome Memorial Hospital’s treatment of heart related illness

From quick response and early intervention for heart attack patients in the emergency department, to quality care and education for those with congestive heart failure, Rome Memorial Hospital plays an important role in saving lives and helping treat cardiac patients with chronic conditions.

Patients who arrive at Rome Memorial Hospital’s emergency department with symptoms of a heart attack can be confident that they will be treated by a staff highly trained in cardiac care. Even though patients may have to be transferred to a designated cardiac intervention center, the speed and quality of care they will receive in the RMH emergency department could save their life.

“Early identification and interventions are essential to saving lives,” said Teresa Bell, RN BS, assistant vice president of clinical services at Rome Memorial Hospital. “We have invested in the educational growth of nurses in the emergency department by providing additional training in cardiac care.”

Emergency and Critical Care Department Director Loretta Myers, RN BS, agrees. “All nurses in the emergency department are certified in critical care and many, in both the ED and ICU, are nationally certified in their specialty,” she explained. “The payoff for this extra certification is demonstrated in the outcomes for our patients.” 

The goal of the ED staff is to identify the problem, provide preliminary intervention and, when indicated, transfer the patient to the nearest available cardiac surgical interventionhealthcare facility as quickly as possible.

“A recent heart attack patient who arrived at the emergency department at Rome Memorial Hospital was on the way to a cardiac surgical interventionfacility within 27 minutes of arrival,” Myers said.

“Last year alone, our Emergency Department treated nearly 1,100 people with symptoms of a heart attack and more than 400 patients with stroke symptoms,” Myers added.

“Quality measures we track for cardiac patients include: rapid identification; time to EKG; time to lab results; and time to transfer to surgical invention or initiation of medication invention,” Myers continued.

“Our patients are closely monitored throughout this process and the speed and accuracy of our highly trained staff has definitely saved lives,” Myers said.

Rome Memorial Hospital is participating in a regional collaborative co-sponsored by the Department of Health and the American Heart Association to improve treatment times for STEMI (ST segment elevation myocardial infarction), a type of heartattack.

“Our emergency department physicians sit on the executive steering committee of this project,” Myers said.

In addition to the highly trained physicians in the emergency department, physicians with Central New York Cardiology and independent physicians Anand Desai, MD and Apparao Poonati, MD provide seven day-a-week cardiologist coverage to Rome Memorial Hospital. They perform quality cardiac care at the hospital, including the insertion of pacemakers and assessment of need for further cardiac interventions.

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is one of the most common reasons people are admitted to Rome Memorial Hospital.  

“When heart failure is caused by heart damage that has developed over time, it can’t be cured,” Bell said. “But there is good news. It can be treated and symptoms can improve.  At Rome Memorial Hospital we have a team of dedicated professionals who provide education and support to patients with congestive heart failure.”  

Patients with CHF are provided with education to understand how to live with their symptoms and how to identify when further treatment is needed.  

“Our doctors, nurses, pharmacists and nutritionists participate in a comprehensive education plan that includes symptom management, medication administration, diet and activity.”

Bell continued. “Our goal is to help our patients recover from the acute symptoms of congestive heart failure and to teach them life style management to avoid future events.”  

When doctors prescribe cardiac tests to determine if there is a heart problem, patients need go no further than Rome Memorial Hospital. Comprehensive outpatient cardiac diagnostics are available through the hospital’s Cardiopulmonary Services department. Tests, including EKG or electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, Holter monitoring and cardiac stress tests, are performed by a skilled and experienced staff.

“Cardiac stress tests determine the amount of stress that your heart can manage before developing either an abnormal rhythm or evidence of ischemia, which is not enough blood flow to the heart muscle,” explained Eileen G. Luley, MS, RRT, director of cardiopulmonary services.  

There are several types of cardiac stress tests available at Rome Memorial Hospital. These include, treadmill stress tests; dobutamine or adenosine stress tests, which use a type of medication to make the heart respond as if the person were exercising; stress echocardiogram, which can accurately visualize the motion of the heart’s walls and pumping action when the heart is stressed; and nuclear stress tests. Nuclear stress tests require a small amount of a radioactive substance to be injected intothe patient. Then the doctor uses a special camera to identify the rays emitted from the substance within the body. This produces clear pictures of the heart tissue on a monitor. These pictures are done both at rest and after exercise.

“An EKG is a non-invasive, painless test which records the electrical activity of the heart,” Luley continued. “A Holter monitor is a small, wearable device that keeps track of your heart rhythm for 24 hours and an echocardiogram is a test that uses sound waves to create pictures of the heart with more detail than can be provided by an x-ray.”

For more information about cardiopulmonary services as well as other services available at Rome Memorial Hospital, visit the hospital’s website at www.romehospital.org.

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