Angioplasty: time is a factor

Robert Swor, M.D., emergency medicine, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, talks about a recent article appearing in the Wall Street Journal about evidence showing that, “every minute hospitals can shave off ‘door to balloon’ time lowers a patient’s risk of death and serious damage to the heart muscle.”

The sooner a heart attack patient arriving to an emergency center gets an angioplasty, the lower the patient’s risk of serious damage to the heart muscle or death. At Beaumont, Royal Oak, we average 67 minutes for standard treatment with angioplasty when entering our emergency center. That entails the time it takes from the patient entering the hospital to getting the angioplasty completed, which is a procedure where a catheter with a small balloon is inserted and inflated to open a blocked artery.

According to the article, the standard for hospitals to meet is 90 minutes or less. Beaumont has been a leader in providing such “reperfusion therapy” for heart attack patients and was one of the first hospitals in the world to routinely provide emergency angioplasty to these patients. Beaumont has a multidisciplinary team that continuously works to shorten our “door to balloon” times.

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