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Rockdale Medical expands cardiac lab, cardiac services
Second cardiac catheterization lab to be built
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Rockdale Medical Center recently received state approval to expand its cardiovacular services, allowing patients to have cardiac treatments closer to home.

RMC is developing a Percutaneous Coronary Interventions program, formerly called a cardiac angioplasty, to broadens the range of comprehensive cardiovascular services offered by the hospital. In partnership with Piedmont Healthcare, Rockdale Medical Center is adding more comprehensive cardiovascular services to meet the growing and complex cardiovascular needs of patients in Rockdale and surrounding communities.

"We are proud to be expanding a service line that is critically important to our community," said RMC Chief Executive Officer Deborah Armstrong. "Many patients who previously would have had to travel farther will not be able to receive high quality PCI care at Rockdale Medical Center. And, for those cases with more complex needs, such as open heart surgery, we are partnering with Piedmont to provide a seamless transition of care for those services."

Rockdale Medical Center will invest more than $2.5 million in capital funding to expand and equip a second cardiac catheterization lab. By expanding the current cardiology department with a second cath lab, RMC can ensure critical equipment is available for cardiac emergencies .The additional lab also will allow for more procedures to be performed during "routine" hours, decrease wait times and reduce inpatient length of stay.

Construction of the new cath lab is expected to begin in December 2014, with an anticipated completion in April 2015. RMC nursing staff will spend significant time during that period in training for the new services with Piedmont.

When a heart attack occurs, blood supply to the heart is blocked causing damage to the heart muscle. PCI, or cardiac angioplasty, is a minimally invasive, non-surgical procedure that opens the heart's arteries using a catheter with a small balloon attached to the tip. PCI offers an alternative to coronary bypass surgery, which involves significant downtime and recovery. The procedure is highly effective, involves minimal pain and discomfort.

In 2013, more than 650 patients from RMC's primary and secondary service areas received PCI services at other facilities. An additional 323 patients were transferred or taken by emergency medical services to other facilities for cardiac care.

The new technology will help RMC coordinate care for chest pain patients to promote more prompt diagnosis and streamline treatment. RMC is also currently working with National EMS to add AIRSTRIP technology to the ambulances, which will begin treatment during patient transport to the hospital, by allowing the transmission of the EKGs directly to cardiologists at the hospital.

In addition to PCI, RMC offers a range of diagnostic services including cardiac catheterization, cardiac rehab, cardiac stress testing, EEG, EKG, endovascular diagnostic and intervention, pacemaker placement, stress echocardiography, vascular surgery , and venous, carotid and lower arterial studies, as well as heart disease prevention and education programs.

Rockdale Medical Center is a 138-bed acute-care hospital fully accredited by The Joint Commission, which evaluates hospital patient care for quality, safety and value. Rockdale Medical Center is part of LifePoint Hospitals, which operates more than 60 hospital campuses in 20 states.