LIFESAVING ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY OFFERS HOPE IN FACE OF HEART ATTACK
Mission Heart Services Cardiologists Use Tiny Heart Pump to Save Retired School Teacher
Advanced cardiac technology and the highly experienced cardiac team at Mission Heart Center saved the life of a retired school teacher from Rutherford County suffering an acute heart attack when they quickly and expertly placed an Impella 2.5 heart pump into the patient’s left ventricle. With the Impella maintaining a steady blood flow, the cardiac specialists cleared the arterial blockage that caused the acute heart attack.
“The patient went into shock, and shock in the setting of an acute heart attack is one of the more dangerous situations in cardiac care. Only 50 percent of people survive,” said William Abernethy M.D., a cardiologist at Mission Health and Asheville Cardiology Associates. “Quickly opening the blocked artery causing the heart attack is one of the best methods to avoid shock. The Impella system gives the patient’s heart support and a chance to recover while we clear the blockage. Fortunately we don’t need to use the system very often, but it has been a life-saving aspect of Mission’s care.”
Mission is the only hospital in Western North Carolina with an Impella system, and has worked with medical centers across the region to help augment the chances of survival and a healthy life in patients suffering an acute heart attack. Continuing efforts to improve the speed at which arteries are opened has contributed to Mission’s time to treatment and outcomes ranking among the best in the nation, and demonstrates its commitment to achieving optimal results and better outcomes for its cardiac patients. But, in spite of improved and quicker approaches to treating an acute heart attack, some patients still develop shock.
Mission Health and Asheville Cardiology Associates recently started using the Impella heart pump, a system specifically designed for heart attack patients in shock, as without this additional support, they would have little chance of survival. The Impella system is designed for patients with failing heart function and works to support the heart function. Inserted through a small incision in the femoral artery, the device assists the heart by pumping two and half liters of blood through the body. This assistance gives the patient and the heart support while allowing them to recuperate. When the patient’s heart has improved, generally within hours or a day, the device is removed.
“The patient was referred to Mission from Rutherfordton. On arrival, she was in severe cardiogenic shock – the heart was not pumping enough blood or generating enough blood pressure to support her vital organs,” said Dr. Jan Pattanayak, the interventional cardiologist who performed the procedure. “Our team knew we had to act fast, and within 20 minutes we placed an Impella 2.5 support device. We then placed stents in two different locations to improve the blood flow to her heart muscle. Without this cutting edge technology available at Mission Hospital, this patient’s chance of survival would have been drastically diminished. I am very proud of the team that night for working together for our common goal.”
About Mission Health
Mission Health, based in Asheville, N.C., is the state’s sixth largest health system and the tertiary care regional referral center for Western North Carolina and the adjoining region. In 2012, Mission Health was named by Thomson Reuters as one of the top 15 health systems in the nation – the only health system in North Carolina to receive this recognition.
Founded in 1885, Mission Health is a not-for-profit, independent community hospital system that operates four hospitals, numerous outpatient and surgery centers, and the region’s only dedicated Level II trauma center. Its medical staff consists of more than 750 physicians, and is certified in more than 50 medical specialties and subspecialties. Centers of excellence include heart, stroke care, neurosciences and pediatrics. Mission Hospital, the system’s flagship hospital, is licensed for 730 beds and is the busiest surgical hospital in North Carolina. Other Mission hospitals include Blue Ridge Regional Hospital in Spruce Pine, McDowell Hospital in Marion, and Mission Children’s Hospital in Asheville.
With approximately 8,800 employees and 700 volunteers, Mission Health is dedicated to serving and improving the health and wellness of the people of Western North Carolina.