June 27, 2011
Cardiac Drill Prepares FHD to Offer Advanced Cardiac Procedures
After investing 18 months in planning and preparation, Florida Hospital DeLand is ready to provide patients with interventional cardiac procedures for those experiencing inadequate blood flow to the heart resulting in a heart attack.

For the past 10 years, Florida Hospital DeLand has been able to diagnose heart problems in their cardiac catheterization lab, but has been unable to perform the necessary procedures to fix the problem.  As of July 5, Florida Hospital DeLand will be licensed by the state of Florida to provide Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI), such as stents and angioplasties, to restore blood flow of a blocked vessel that brings vital blood and oxygen to the heart muscle.

On June 28, Florida Hospital DeLand completed their final cardiac drill, a precursor to the July 5 PCI procedures start date. This drill was one of many that occurred over the past several months, simulating numerous scenarios. 

In addition to serving as a necessary requirement to become fully licensed by the state Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), this drill took place in downtown DeLand and was an opportunity to educate the community on the importance of avoiding a delay in emergency medical care by calling 911. With recent advancements in the emergency medical system, EVAC can now transmit vital information, such as an electrocardiogram to the Florida Hospital DeLand’s ER, so that the hospital staff can prepare in advance of a patient’s arrival with a “STEMI” (ST elevated Myocardial Infarction, or heart attack).

“Increasing the use of EMS among these patients can reduce total ischemic time by an average of almost 30 minutes,” lead author and researcher, Robin Mathews, MD, noted in a recent publication of the American Heart Association medical journal, Circulation.

During the drill, Bill Jennings, owner of the popular Bill & Frank's Brick House Grill in downtown DeLand, simulated the typical symptoms of a cardiac event, pretending to feel chest pain, shortness of breath, and even collapsing on the sidewalk outside Dublin Station, 105 West Indiana Avenue, DeLand.  Jennings’ two friends actually called 911 to report the onset of his condition and pretended to use an Automatic Electronic Defibrillator (AED) while they waited for emergency personnel to arrive and transport him to Florida Hospital DeLand’s Emergency Room.

“Before obtaining this licensure, patients with a cardiac condition like Bill’s would have needed to be emergently transferred to Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center in Daytona Beach or airlifted to Orlando,” said Marlene Thomas, Director of Cardiopulmonary and Cardiovascular Services at Florida Hospital DeLand.  “It’s a struggle for patients that have to leave the area and to be transferred.  That time during the transfer is time wasted, and time that we could use to open the vessel and save heart muscle.”

Once EVAC arrived to Florida Hospital DeLand’s ER, the drill continued with ER staff performing tests to confirm that his “symptoms” were in fact that of a cardiac event. He was then whisked off to the hospital’s Cardiac Catheterization Lab, where Interventional Cardiologist Christiane Theilade, MD, was ready to open Jennings’ blocked artery. 

All in all, it took 32 minutes from the time Jennings arrived to Florida Hospital DeLand’s ER to the time the balloon would have been inflated and opened his constricted artery – much shorter than the national gold standard of 90 minutes.

“Time is muscle,” said Dr. Theilade.  “The faster you can get the patient treated, the better outcome you will have.”

PCI is a big need within the DeLand community, Dr. Theilade added. 

“I see a very large number of patients with coronary artery disease and there are a lot of patients that come in with heart attacks,” she said.

In fact, in the past year, the hospital has had 550 diagnostic cardiac cases and approximately a third of those needed interventional treatment. 

“Families tend to get very anxious when you tell them you have to transfer the patient somewhere else,” Dr. Theilade said. “Most of them are local people and they are very familiar and comfortable with this hospital, and I think this is something they really waited for.”

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