MyMichigan Medical Center in Alpena received a certificate of need approval to begin emergency percutaneous coronary intervention, or PCI, for patients with ST–elevation myocardial infarction, the most serious type of heart attack.
“Think of them like pimple inside your arteries and they’re bulging into the artery filled with cholesterol,” said Daniel Harber, D.O., a cardiologist at MyMichigan Medical Center. “When they break – and they can break for a number of reasons – it causes a blood clot to form, and just like a clog in a drain, it plugs up that blood vessel. Now, no more blood gets to the area beyond that blockage and the heart starts to die.”
With northeast Michigan being such a rural area, MyMichigan Medical Center had a tough time getting people to a place where people could receive this treatment, even having to go as far as Petoskey or Midland. Now, patients can be treated in a much quicker manner.
“So, we’ve either been sending patients to Petoskey or down to Midland, which is about 150 miles away and so that takes a lot of time and then takes our ambulances out of service for a long time to get these patients to definitive care,” said Nick Harrison, EMS Operations Supervisor at MyMichigan Medical Center.
Heart attacks are a serious issue and Dr. Harber says if you think you’re having symptoms, don’t wait to call 9–1–1 to be evaluated.
“The more time you lose, the more heart tissue you lose,” he said. “The sooner EMS gets there, evaluates you, and gets you to us, the better outcome you’re going to have.”
With this program, MyMichigan now has much more time to respond to a STEMI concern, have EMS transport them to the hospital, and perform the proper treatment.
“When we’re talking about our huge geographic coverage area of northeast Michigan, it’s very possible that when EMS activates the [catheterization laboratory] in the field that the cath lab team will be there, ready to go when the ambulance gets to the hospital,” said Harrison.
The PCI program will begin at MyMichigan Medical Center this week.