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A Heartbeat Away! More Cardiovascular Services Coming Soon to Gwinnett Medical Center

You’ll likely recall the successful campaign to bring open heart surgical services to Gwinnett County. This community banded together to make that a reality, and Gwinnett Medical Center has been hard at work putting the pieces in place to ensure the most advanced cardiac care possible is available right here in Gwinnett.

Last June, GMC broke ground on what will be known as its Heart & Vascular Center. The new 40,000 square foot facility is being constructed on the west side of the hospital in Lawrenceville. When it opens in early 2012, some of the best cardiac care professionals in the nation will take advantage of the latest technology housed in state-of-the-art operating rooms and cardiac catheterization laboratories.

“The preparation and planning that is going into the launch of this program and the opening of this facility is phenomenal,” said GMC’s CEO Phil Wolfe. “We’re identifying and implementing the most advanced approaches to delivering cardiac care. That takes an incredible commitment from our staff, the cardiologists and interventionalists that will serve our community.”

Once the facility is operational, GMC will be home to a comprehensive array of advanced cardiovascular services, including open heart surgery. These new services add to a well-respected cardiac program that includes an accredited chest pain center in the emergency department, a cardiac wellness program certified by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation, and a full range of cardiac diagnostic services.

While open heart surgery has been the focal point, the program does encompass other advanced cardiovascular services, including therapeutic procedures in the cardiac catheterization laboratories.

In March, GMC launched its percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) program, the technical term for GMC’s ability to perform coronary angioplasty and stenting procedures. These services allow patients to have coronary vessels opened within a cath lab. The program also allows for advanced techniques for extracting blockages in patients’ blood vessels during these procedures.

Another huge benefit for cardiac patients will come from the installation of advanced technologies in all Gwinnett ambulances. This technology, known as LifeNet, will enable EMS crews to transmit greater information on patient status to Gwinnett Medical Center’s Emergency Department. Staff within the hospital will have a single record of all available data on a patient prior to their arrival. They can then transmit that vital information directly to clinicians on their mobile devices. The result is a quicker flow of more comprehensive information, which equates to better care for the cardiac patient.

What’s equally noteworthy is the means by which GMC will implement this technology. Two Gwinnett-based cardiology practices, Cardiovascular Group, P.C. and Gwinnett Consultants in Cardiology, have contributed money to fund the entire system.

“We view funding of the LifeNet system as an investment that benefits both patients and practitioners,” said Manfred Sandler, MD, director of cardiology at GMC.“Working with people experiencing cardiac emergencies requires speed. In our line of business, time is muscle. Any delays in providing timely care can impact the heart’s ability to recover from a cardiac event. This technology helps close that gap in time, giving our patients far greater outcomes.”

Even with all of the advancements in cardiovascular care, heart disease remains the number one killer in the United States. Gwinnett Medical Center takes great pride in continuing to expand its cardiovascular program to better meet the needs of the community. The launch of PCI services, implementation of new technologies and the pending opening of the new Heart & Vascular Center are further examples of how GMC is transforming healthcare.

Article from Gwinnett Magazine's February 2011 issue written by the Gwinnett Magazine Staff.