First Case of Coronary Angioplasty Completed at SAH

– Sault Area Hospital (SAH) completed its first case of Coronary Angioplasty (cardiac stenting) earlier this week and a total of six procedures have since been performed. Every year, approximately 400 Algoma patients are referred to other centers for coronary angioplasty (cardiac stenting), a procedure used to widen blocked or narrowed coronary arteries (the main blood vessels supplying the heart).

This procedure can now be done locally. “This is wonderful news for our community,” says Ron Gagnon, President & CEO of SAH. “Thanks to our talented team of physicians and staff, this life-saving service will greatly benefit patients and their families by bringing care closer to home and minimizing the burden of travel,” he adds.

SAH has been working collaboratively with CORHealth Ontario, the MOHLTC and St. Michael’s Hospital (SMH) to bring this vital service to Sault Ste. Marie. Through a mentorship agreement between SMH and SAH, hospital nurses and staff have received the necessary training to provide this service. While SAH continues to actively recruit cardiologists, SMH Interventional Cardiologists will be providing cardiac angioplasty services at SAH.

“Working together with our mentor (SMH), cases will be reviewed to assess risk, based on this assessment; some cases may be referred to another centre,” says Dr. Rishi Ghosh, Medical Director Critical Care and Cardiology.  Patients who require cardiac surgical techniques and treatment methods (bypass surgery, valve repair) will need to travel to another centre to receive their care.  “Sault Area Hospital’s ability to do emergency cases will be determined by the assessment completed collaboratively with our mentor St. Michael’s Hospital,” he adds.

Providing coronary angioplasty at SAH will include the addition of a second catheterization laboratory.  “Although we have begun offering this service, we will require two catheterization laboratories to meet the gold standard of providing a “door to balloon” time of 90 minutes or less in cases where there is a 100% blockage of a heart artery and the patient has suffered a heart attack,” explains Gagnon. “The SAH Foundation’s fundraising efforts will focus on building a second laboratory so we can provide timely, life-saving treatment to this vulnerable patient population.”

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