MORE heart patients’ lives will be saved at Orange hospital after the cardiology unit moved to a 24-hour seven day a week intervention surgery program.
“We have already had some spectacular rescue results with patients from around the area,” said cardiologist Dr Ruth Arnold.
“This is now formally taking us to another level,” she said.
She said the addition of intervention cardiologist Dr Andrew French to the unit as part of the cardiac team working with fellow practitioners and specialist nurses now has the potential to save even more lives.
Orange Health Service in its first full financial year of operation at the service has treated almost 1200 heart patients which Dr Arnold said is a wonderful result for rural health care.
“The alternative is these patients would have had to go by chopper to Sydney,” she said.
“Up until now we have had an ad hoc system where at weekends and at night we have worked a type of on call system where we have had to rely on the generosity of nursing staff who have come in out of the goodness of their heart.
“If that hasn’t been possible we have had to fly patients to Sydney,” she said.
The growth of the interventional cardiology unit at the hospital dealing with catheter based treatment of structural heart disease involves a number of procedures which can now be carried out at the hospital.
The surgery now available full-time deals specifically with the catheter-based treatment of structural heart disease involving a range of procedures to save the lives of heart patients.
“This provides us with an opportunity to provide high level emergency angioplasty and stenting services for our patients,” she said.
She said while many patients presented to the hospital as part of a planned treatment after diagnosis of heart problems, many patients have been saved after coming to the hospital for emergency treatment.
Dr Arnold said of the patients treated in the heart unit in the last year, 70 per cent have come from places away from Orange.
Dr Arnold and Dr David Amos were the first two cardiologists in Orange to work out of the catheter laboratory established at the former Orange Base Hospital following a public appeal set up as the Mid West Heart Fund to finance an initial service.
“It has been gratifying to see the services expand since we first started in 2005 and the impact it has had on the outcomes for so many of our patients,” Dr Arnold said.