If you or a loved one is having a heart attack in east metro Atlanta, your only option has been to go to an Atlanta facility equipped with a cardiac ward as quickly as possible. When every second counts, travel time to these facilities can be a matter of life or death.
Local hospital, Rockdale Medical Center (RMC), has partnered with Piedmont Heart to create a solution for their residents. After reviewing the number of cardiac patients from this area, Piedmont Heart and RMC began taking steps to provide our residents with an option closer to home in the fall of 2014.
In 2013, more than 650 patients from the local area received Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) treatment in out of area facilities and an additional 323 patients were transferred or taken by ambulance to these outlying facilities for cardiac care directly.
The ramifications of these numbers are more clear in small areas like Monticello where there are only two available ambulances. If one ambulance takes 1.5 hours to take a cardiac patient to a facility in Atlanta, that leaves the area with one available ambulance.
Rockdale Medical Center unveiled its new Heart and Vascular Center and Interventional Cardiology Program on July 16th, 2015. Members of the community and elected officials Sheriff Eric J. Levett, Rockdale County Clerk of Courts Ruth Wilson, and Chairman Oden were some of the few who came out to support the reveal.
The addition of a multi-million dollar catheterization laboratory (or cath lab) and development of the PCI program will enable RMC to provide complex vascular procedures to the residents east of the metro Atlanta area.
PCI, commonly known as coronary angioplasty, or simply angioplasty, is a non-surgical procedure used to treat the stenotic (narrowed) coronary arteries of the heart found in coronary heart disease. During PCI, a balloon is used to inflate the narrowed artery to enable blood to flow. The procedure is an alternative to coronary bypass surgery, which involves downtime and a long recovery period.
RMC’s new Heart and Vascular Center will enable the hospital to provide care for patients closer to home. The new technology will help RMC coordinate care for chest pain patients to promote more prompt diagnosis and streamline treatment. RMC is also currently working with National EMS to add AirStrip technology to the ambulances, which will begin treatment during patient transport to the hospital by allowing the transmission of the electrocardiograms (EKGs) directly to cardiologists at the hospital.
In addition to PCI, RMC offers a range of diagnostic services including cardiac catheterization, cardiac rehabilitation, cardiac stress testing,electroencephalography (EEG), EKG, endovascular diagnostic and intervention, pacemaker placement, stress echocardiography, vascular surgery, and venous, carotid and lower arterial studies, as well as heart disease prevention and education programs.
RMC is a 138-bed acute-care hospital that is part of LifePoint Hospitals. LifePoint operates more than 60 hospital campuses in 20 states.