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Thursday, November 21, 2013 - Inspira Medical Center Vineland Begins Using Life-Saving Emergency Procedure for Heart Attack Patients

VINELAND, NJ (November 21, 2013) – Inspira Medical Center Vineland recently received approval from the New Jersey Department of Health to perform emergency angioplasty, also known as emergency PCI (percutaneous coronary intervention). The hospital’s emergency department and cardiac catheterization laboratory physicians and staff have already begun using the life-saving emergency procedure for area heart attack patients. 



Helen Bruce (center), 61 of Greenwich, New Jersey, was the first patient at Inspira Medical Center Vineland to have the emergency procedure after experiencing a heart attack earlier this week. Now, getting ready to go home, Bruce is thankful for the level of care and attention she received from all those who helped give her a second chance at life. Above (from left to right): Michele Zucconi, R.N., Jason Manuola, R.N.; Andereh Tahmasiyan, R.N.; Jie Lu; R.N., Michael Foster, R.N.; and Andrew Zinn, M.D., who performed the life-saving intervention.

 “The ability for us to perform emergency PCI right here in Vineland will significantly speed up treatment for those in the community who are having a heart attack,” said Andrew Zinn, M.D., F.A.C.C., medical director of interventional cardiology at Inspira Medical Center Vineland. “The approval builds on our medical center’s 2011 accreditation as a Chest Pain Center. Together with local EMS, Inspira paramedics and the hospital’s dedicated emergency department staff, our experienced physicians and cardiac catheterization lab staff will be able to save more patients’ heart muscle and ultimately, save more lives.”

In order to preserve heart muscle, emergency PCI allows physicians to restore normal blood flow within minutes with a minimally invasive procedure called balloon angioplasty. In this procedure, a thin, flexible tube (catheter) is inserted through the groin and threaded into the arteries of the heart. A balloon is inflated to open up the blocked arteries of the heart, and often a tiny wire mesh device called a stent is placed to prop the artery open and prevent re-blockage. Emergency PCI is less invasive than a coronary bypass procedure, which requires cutting through the chest wall.

Inspira Medical Center Vineland, along with its team of experienced cardiologists, has been performing diagnostic cardiac catheterization since 2004. In order to perform emergency PCI, a physician must have performed a minimum of 75 such procedures during the previous year. Inspira Medical Center Vineland currently has six board-certified cardiologists on staff who are state approved to perform the emergency PCI procedure.

“Time is of the essence when treating heart attack victims,” said Michele Zucconi, R.N., M.S.N., C.C.R.N., administrative director of the Cardiac Care Center and Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Inspira Medical Center Vineland. “In order to treat patients as quickly and efficiently as possible, the emergency responders will send a patient’s EKG (electrocardiogram) to the hospital’s emergency department physicians allowing treatment to begin immediately when the patient arrives. The addition of emergency PCI to our cardiac treatment services demonstrates Inspira’s commitment to providing the highest quality cardiac care to the community.”

Emergency PCI is an effective intervention to open clogged arteries and restore blood flow to the heart for patients having a STEMI (segment elevation myocardial infarction) heart attack. This more severe type of heart attack is usually recognized by the characteristic changes it produces on an EKG. The American Heart Association reports that 250,000 people in the United States suffer from STEMI heart attacks each year, which makes up nearly 30 percent of all heart attacks. Only 25 percent of hospitals in the United States offer emergency PCI services.  

Inspira Medical Center Woodbury introduced this procedure in 2009 and has maintained average door-to-balloon times (the time from arrival at the ER to the opening of blocked coronary artery) of 58 minutes—considerably faster than the national standard. With this service now available at two locations in Gloucester and Cumberland counties, Inspira Health Network serves as the region’s leader for emergency cardiac care.

Inspira Health Network is a charitable nonprofit health care organization formed in November 2012 by the merger of South Jersey Healthcare and Underwood-Memorial Hospital. The network, which traces its roots to 1899, now comprises three hospitals, four multi-specialty health centers and a total of more than 60 locations. These include outpatient imaging and rehabilitation centers; urgent care; numerous specialty centers, including sleep medicine, cardiac testing and wound care; home care and hospice; and more than two dozen primary and specialty physician practices in Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties.

Together with its medical staff of more than 1,100 physicians and other care providers, Inspira Health Network provides evidence-based care to help each patient achieve the best possible outcome. Clinical and support staffs are focused on providing quality care in a safe environment.