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Health Team

Study shows heart patients in good hands at smaller hospitals

Posted April 23, 2013

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— In the past, Wayne Memorial Hospital in Goldsboro wasn’t the place to go for heart procedures. However, the hospital staff recently treated 83-year-old Gloria Price and 53-year-old Bill Duke with angioplasty and stents following chest pain called angina.

The pain was “really bad,” Duke recalled. “Worse than I’ve ever experienced before.”

Added Price: “I would feel it when I was walking or doing house work.”

They're glad that they and others who live in or near Goldsboro can schedule these procedures close to home.

Historically, coronary intervention required a heart surgeon on standby in case something went wrong – something small community hospitals can't offer. A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine says that's no longer necessary among non-emergency patients.

heart procedures Community hospitals doing more heart procedures

The study shows that “patients who undergo this procedure at a community hospital without surgical backup do equally as well as patients who are done at major medical centers,” said Dr. Joel Schneider, a cardiologist with Wake Heart and Vascular.

Wayne Memorial scheduled its first patient last December and has done about 14 procedures since then. In case of problems, WakeMed emergency transport is ready to carry patients to Raleigh.

Wayne Memorial cardiologist Dr. J.D. Gupta says patients are in the best hands possible.

“And so the patient is not in any sense getting an inferior product,” Gupta said.

The change may offer significant cost savings, but what patients notice most is the convenience.

“We're getting older, so it's nice to have it close by,” Price said.

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  • Wake1 Apr 24, 9:58 a.m.

    Great news!