Beginning March 1, Northside Hospital-Forsyth will be the first facility in the county to offer percutaneous coronary interventions.
Skip Putnam, chief executive officer, said in a statement that the hospital was “pleased to continue to offer the latest in technology, expanded services and high-quality health care.”
“By offering more medical services closer to home, residents of this area no longer have to travel to Atlanta to receive the medical attention they need,” he said.
The PCI, more commonly known as cardiac angioplasty, allows doctors to clear a path in blocked arteries.
The procedure is a critical intervention for those with clogged arteries and at risk of heart failure, according to a news release from the hospital.
In 2007, more than 300 Forsyth and Dawson residents traveled from their home counties to receive the procedure.
They will now be able to visit the new cardiac catheterization lab at the hospital, which opened last year.
Though the lab is new, its staff members are not.
Aman Kakkar, medical director at the catheterization lab, said in a statement that the physicians and staff at Northside Hospital-Forsyth are "of a very high caliber and have performed hundreds of angioplasties at other hospitals."
“The team’s combined experience includes more than 60 years of cath lab expertise, so cardiac patients can rest assured they will be in good hands,” Kakkar said.
Thanks to a recent change in Georgia law, spokesman Russ Davis said the hospital needed only to file an exemption determination with the state, not a certificate of need.
“Basically, that was our narrative to prove how we were going to meet the state requirements to perform a PCI,” he said. “It covers safety and staffing quality. It was a two-month process.”
One of the requirements for the exemption status is to make sure the hospital follows a specific protocol to expedite transfer of patients who may need open heart surgery or back-up assistance.
The hospital has teamed up with St. Joseph’s Hospital of Atlanta for patient transfers and with Central Emergency Services and Air Methods to ensure rapid transport by ground or air.
“We are making sure every one of those guidelines is in place before this is started,” Davis said.
In addition to the new service, a second catheterization lab is slated to open at the hospital in May, which will also add about five new employees, Davis said.