Officials continue to push for better cardiac services

Cardiac catheterization seen as a 'must' within local health care services

  • Dec. 28, 2016 6:24 p.m.

The push continues for cardiac catheterization services to be provided at the Red Deer Regional Hospital.

Earlier this fall, officials with the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation has said they wanted to seek support to see the service available in the City, so that patients could get further life-saving care instead of having to be sent to Edmonton or Calgary.

The Foundation launched a facebook page called ‘Central Alberta Needs Cardiac Catheterization’ in an attempt to spread the word about how critical this treatment is for many heart attack patients. There is a link on the facebook page to the group’s web site, where residents are encourage to show their support by signing an open letter under the ‘Sign it!’ tab.

According to the web site, Central Albertans have a 60% higher rate of death and disability after a heart attack than people in Edmonton and Calgary due to the limited means of treatment.

“Patients in Central Alberta experiencing a heart attack can only receive a clot busting drug, as there is not enough time to transfer the patient for cardiac catheterization. Cardiac catheterization is far superior to ‘clot busting’ drugs in patients with heart attacks.”

The web site goes on to say that a cardiac catheterization laboratory in Red Deer, “Would save lives, reduce length of hospital stay, reduce re-hospitalization rates, and reduce disability after a heart attack.”

“Really, the biggest development is that the chair of our board, Mr. Bilton, spoke with Minister Hoffman’s chief of staff and they said it’s on the radar, they are aware of it and they are going to discuss what that looks like in terms of long term planning,” said Iaian Park, the Foundation’s executive director.

He said that donations to support the cause have already been pledged and/or are coming in.

“We’re hoping that it comes to fruition, because we’d really like to fundraise for this.”

He added that in the meantime, awareness about the issue is on the rise.

Park said he’s learned that between 800 to 1,000 people so far have signed up to show their support on the web site. The ‘likes’ are going up on the facebook page as well.

Cardiac catheterization is defined as a procedure used to diagnose and treat cardiovascular conditions.

According to the Mayo Clinic web site, during cardiac catheterization, a long thin tube called a catheter is inserted in an artery or vein in the groin, neck or arm and threaded through blood vessels to the heart.

Park has pointed out that the Red Deer Regional Hospital deals with about 215,000 to 300,000 people, so many of those served lived well beyond the City.

In the ‘Report Examining the Appropriateness and Feasibility of Establishing Advanced Cardiac Services in Central Zone at the Red Deer Regional Hospital: 10 Year Horizon’ it’s pointed out that,”There is a need for a provincial strategy, with a five to 10 years lens, to identify where advanced cardiac programs will be required, and to determine the quality accountability framework for existing and new programs.”

The report, dated Dec. 12th, 2014, was put together by the Cardiovascular Health & Stroke SCN, Alberta Health Services.

For more information about the ongoing campaign, find ‘Central Alberta Needs Cardiac Catheterization’ on facebook or call the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation at 403-343-4773 or by visiting