The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

April 10, 2009

RGH gets OK for advanced cardiac services

Raleigh General Hospital CEO Karen Bowling said she’d waited years to deliver the news she gave to the community Thursday.

RGH is now approved by the West Virginia Health Care Authority to provide emergency and elective cardiac angioplasty to patients.

The HCA issued a Certificate of Need approving RGH to perform the surgeries earlier this week, Bowling said.

“It’s very exciting for us,” she said. “We received so much support from the community.

“You’d be surprised at the number of people from the community who actually called me ... saying how wonderful it was that they were going to have these services.”

Many elected officials have shown support, too, she added.

Cardiac angioplasty is a potentially life-saving surgery that opens narrow or blocked vessels that supply blood to the heart. It can be used during a heart attack to quickly open a blocked artery and reduce the amount of damage to a patient’s heart.

It also may be used to reduce the symptoms of coronary artery disease.

During an angioplasty, the doctor will often place a small metal coil, or stent, into the clogged artery to help prop it open. The stent lowers the chance of the artery narrowing again.

For years, heart patients in Beckley and surrounding areas had to be transported to Charleston Area Medical Center for a cardiac angioplasty.

“This is an area where patients just have to travel so far,” she said. “The longer you have to wait to get the service, the more likely you’re going to have heart damage.

“If the heart is so damaged, they’re only going to get back to a certain level. I know people who have had angioplasty (quickly) and they’re back to work in a matter of weeks, working to the capacity in which they left.”

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