Augusta Health celebrates heart attack treatment surgery milestone

Published: Nov. 8, 2021 at 4:47 PM EST
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - Augusta Health is celebrating a big milestone in the heart and vascular department.

Cardiologists did their 1,000th angioplasty, a procedure used to relieve pressure on the heart during a heart attack. Dr. Surjya Das says the treatment is in the form of emergency catheterization of the heart.

“Through a small tube in the wrist artery or leg artery, we put catheters up to the heart, inject x-ray dye into the blood vessels to find the area of blockage and try to unblock that artery by putting a little balloon to press open the blood vessel and then putting a metal stint in the artery,” Das said.

Das says the milestone shows Augusta Health’s dedication to the community.

“It’s pretty exciting, especially for smaller hospitals. These procedures were developed at much larger places, and there are some incredibly major centers who do literally thousands of these procedures,” he said.

When someone is in cardiac distress, Das says an important factor is time. To minimize damage, Das says a person should seek treatment as quickly as possible.

“There’s a real time-dependence to it because, from the onset of symptoms where a blood clot forms and it’s cutting off blood supply to the heart, you really have this several-hour window of trying to reopen the blood vessel and reestablish blood flow to the heart,” he said.

Das says that’s why these treatments need to be available at more hospitals.

“To treat people with heart attacks, obviously with this time dependence, you want to be as close to the place as possible, so there are a lot more of these programs where you do angioplasty, what we call primary angioplasty, for heart attacks,” he said.

Although treatments for heart attacks are very important, Das says prevention is even more important. Things like poor diet, lack of exercise and smoking can increase a person’s risk for heart attacks.

Time is a big factor in heart attack treatments, so if you believe you’re experiencing a heart attack, you should seek help right away.

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