Woodstock–The region’s first emergency coronary angioplasty was performed on Tuesday, March 2, 2004 at Centegra Northern Illinois Medical Center in McHenry. This milestone procedure, the first of its kind in the county, occurred when a patient came to the hospital emergency room with crushing chest pain symptoms. Within minutes a team of nurses, technicians, and physicians responded to the situation with tests that indicated almost complete blockage of a coronary artery.
Since 1992 Centegra Northern Illinois Medical Center has been performing diagnostic cardiac catheterizations on hundreds of patients annually. Recently the hospital opened a second state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization lab to accommodate the increased volume of procedures and prepare for performing emergency coronary angioplasty. The procedure on Tuesday, the first of its kind performed here, was another step forward in the establishment of a comprehensive cardiovascular program.
The team that responded on Tuesday had been training for months. Nurses, technologists, and cardiologists trained in interventional procedures had all worked together to develop the protocols and procedures necessary to respond appropriately to this patient’s needs. In addition to the on-site capabilities of the Centegra team, protocols are in place to coordinate the patient’s care with the open-heart surgical capabilities of OSF St. Anthony Medical Center in Rockford and Sherman Hospital in Elgin. But in the events that occurred Tuesday all of the patient’s care could be provided for at Centegra Northern Illinois Medical Center.
Upon arriving in the Emergency Department, a simple EKG lasting no more than two minutes is all that is required for a cardiologist to determine the nature of the patient’s situation. Then a series of strict protocols must be met for a patient to be treated on an emergent basis. In the cardiac cath lab additional diagnostic testing is done to determine whether treatment on site is appropriate or if the patient should be transferred to one of the support facilities. With Flight for Life and ground transportation available patients at Centegra can be moved rapidly should the circumstances require it.
In a coronary angioplasty procedure a patient is treated in a cardiac catheterization lab. A team of physicians, technologists, and nurses work together throughout the procedure. The physician gains access to the aorta through the femoral artery and inserts a catheter that releases dye into the coronary arteries so that x-ray images will reveal the structure of the blood vessels and help determine where a blockage has occurred. In an emergency angioplasty the physician will isolate the blockage causing the heart attack and then insert a special wire into the center of the blockage. A small balloon is then threaded onto the wire and inflated in the blocked area to restore blood flow and end the heart attack. In many cases the physician will then insert a small metallic stent into the same area which when opened up will keep the artery open and maintain blood flow to prevent further heart problems.
In the end, the emergency angioplasty performed on Tuesday prevented the patient from suffering severe heart muscle damage and will help to maintain a better quality of life. “Our whole team worked together,” stated Jane Langenfeld, Manager of Cardiac Diagnostics at Centegra Northern Illinois Medical Center. “It was phenomenal to see how every area from the emergency department to the cath lab, to the intensive care unit came together quickly and precisely to perform their tasks.”
Centegra Site Administrator and Senior Vice President Tom Dattalo commended the team for their efforts and noted that it was “truly a team effort to make this happen. Residents of the region can be confident that we have the staff, doctors, and the technology to deal with serious heart problems right here at home.”