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KDMC Featured in National Cardiology Journal

Cardiology CoverASHLAND, KY — King’s Daughters has earned the distinctive honor of being featured in the September 2007 edition of Cardiology, the renowned journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The two-page article, titled “Kentucky Medical Center Finds D2B Success,” focuses on the significant improvements the medical center has made in the last two years in treating heart attack patients. The article details KDMC’s “Code:Heart” initiative, which tracks the time a patient arrives at the Emergency Department to the time that patient undergoes balloon angioplasty in the Cath Lab to open up the blocked heart artery. This process is called “door to balloon time,” or D2B. KDMC joined a nationwide effort through the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association to reduce door to balloon time to less than 90 minutes. Research shows patients have the best outcomes if their blockage is treated with angioplasty within that hour-and-a-half period.

“In 2005, our average D2B was three hours, which is typical of most hospitals,” said Kristie Whitlatch, vice president of the KDMC Heart and Vascular Center. “With concentrated quality improvements, however, our D2B now is consistently less than 60 minutes, and we have a record time of 16 minutes.”

Whitlatch credits the efforts of a team approach along the continuum of care, including local EMS, the air ambulance, the Emergency Department physicians and staff, support staff and cardiologists and members of the cardiovascular team. King’s Daughters implemented innovative methods for improving communications and response times, which are outlined in the Cardiology article.

Cardiologist Chris Epling, D.O., is medical director for KDMC’s Chest Pain Center. He provided oversight of the process improvement project.

“I’m pleased that King’s Daughters is taking aggressive action to improve the care of heart attack patients,” Dr. Epling said. “Our team analyzes every case within 24 hours and we continue to identify opportunities for improvement. We’re seeing progress in every phase, from the EMS to the ED, to the Cath Labs. Even patients with atypical symptoms are being carefully evaluated and tested for suspected heart attack. We’ve saved some lives with our vigilance, and certainly improved patient outcomes.”

Cardiologist Arshad Ali, M.D., recently joined the King’s Daughters medical staff after practicing in Pennsylvania for several years. “This region has some of the highest rates of cardiovascular disease in the U.S., and physicians and healthcare facilities like King’s Daughters have a prime opportunity to reduce mortalities and complications,” he said.

Whitlatch said King’s Daughters treated more than 1,000 patients with heart attack symptoms in the past year, and performed more than 13,000 cardiac catheterization procedures, as well as nearly 800 open-heart surgeries.

“There is a high degree excitement among team members, physicians and referring hospitals to see the KDMC story published in the top cardiology journal in the U.S., which is read by thousands of physicians and healthcare professionals,” Whitlatch said.

Written for, about and by cardiovascular professionals, Cardiology covers professional news, trends and science and provides members with the opportunity to share their insights on what is happening in cardiac care and their profession. Driven by member needs, Cardiology puts research, science and clinical guidelines in the context of daily clinical practice. Cardiology, a monthly print publication, is provided free to American College of Cardiology members as part of their membership.

To learn more about King’s Daughters’ Code:Heart imitative, call 1.888.377KDMC, or visit kdmc.com/heart.

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